Wilko redundancies: Thousands of layoffs set to start today as hopes remain for failed retailer's shops

The first round of potentially thousands of layoffs at failed retailer Wilko is expected to start on Monday even as hopes of a rescue deal for parts of the business remain.

Administrators confirmed last week that 269 people in the company's Worksop support centre would be having their last day with the business. Redundancies at the company's Worksop and Newport warehouses are also due to start early this week.

The administrators did not confirm how many warehouse staff would lose their jobs, but around 1,296 people are thought to work there. The GMB union said last week it had asked for redundancies to start with volunteers.

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There are still hopes that the administrators, who work for PwC, will be able to hammer out a deal that could save thousands of jobs at Wilko stores across the country. They are reportedly in talks with a group of potential rescuers led by Doug Putman, the Canadian businessman who took over HMV in 2019.

Wilko is set to start making staff redundant from todayWilko is set to start making staff redundant from today
Wilko is set to start making staff redundant from today

His business Sunrise Records bought the struggling music retailer just before the pandemic and has managed to turn it round to become profitable again. The bid that Mr Putman is representing will, it has been reported, save around 300 of Wilko's 400 shops and save around 8,000 jobs of the 12,500 that Wilko previously employed - but only if it is successful.

To be so, the businessman will need to convince the administrators at PwC who last week ruled out an offer from a private equity firm that had promised to save all Wilko jobs.

The firm, called M2 Capital, appeared to miss a deadline to prove it had the means to go through with the deal on Wednesday afternoon.

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After that the administrators announced that redundancies would restart.

The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that the deal led by Mr Putman had won backing from the Pension Protection Fund as well as other major creditors, including landlords and suppliers. The 90-year-old retailer was placed under administration a little under a month ago. It had faced five years of declining turnover as high streets were placed under pressure, not least by the Covid-19 lockdowns.