Wilko rescue bid deadline passes leaving 12,000 jobs hanging in the balance

Wilko rescue bid deadline passes leaving 12,000 jobs hanging in the balance

Thousands of jobs at Wilko were in the balance last night after the deadline for interested bidders to submit a rescue offer passed.

The budget homewares retailer fell into administration last week, putting 12,000 jobs, 400 stores and the Wilko name at risk. 

Administrators at PwC set a deadline of end of business yesterday for offers to rescue it.

A spokesman for the GMB union, which represents some Wilko staff and is liaising with PwC, said: ‘We remain hopeful there will be a rescue package of sorts.’

Potential buyers are thought to include rivals B&M European Value Retail, Poundland, The Range and Home Bargains, but it is uncertain whether they would keep the Wilko brand.

Collapse: Wilko fell into administration last week – putting 12,000 jobs, 400 stores and the Wilko name at risk

Adding to staff anxieties will be fears that its retirement fund faces a big shortfall, meaning pensioners may have a reduced annual income. 

Although the scheme may be bailed out by the Pension Protection Fund, the industry lifeboat, union chiefs and staff have been left fuming at bosses’ decisions to pay £77million to the owners and former shareholders in the last decade. 

The chain was controlled by descendants of the founder, James Kemsey Wilkinson.

The GMB called on the Wilkinson family to ‘plug the pension pot deficit’ and said ‘no worker should carry the burden of the bosses’ financial failings’.

Jonathan De Mello, a retail expert, said the brand was popular and that B&M was ‘a better suitor’ than rival Poundland.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk