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All of UK retailer Wilko’s stores to shut, risking 12,500 jobs

by Uma
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All of UK retailer Wilko’s stores to shut, risking 12,500 jobs

LONDON (Reuters) -Failed retailer Wilko will disappear from British high streets next month, as its entire chain of 400 homeware stores close, with the likely loss of all 12,500 jobs, a trade union said on Monday.

The GMB union said, citing Wilko’s administrators, that the stores were set to close by early October, while two distribution centres will close on Friday next week.

“This means that redundancy is now likely for all 12,500 workers,” GMB added.

The news follows hopes in recent weeks of a deal being reached to buy the retailer, which collapsed last month after suffering a cash squeeze following a downturn in trading.

A recent bid by Canadian businessman Doug Putman, the owner of HMV music stores, to buy a majority of Wilko failed due to complications over costs, British media reported.

Wilko, which started as hardware store in 1930 in Leicester, central England, succumbed to Britain’s tougher economic environment and cost-of-living crisis, grappling with high inflation and a series of interest rate rises.

“This isn’t a tragedy without cause,” GMB National Officer Nadine Houghton said. “Wilko should have thrived in a bargain retail sector that is otherwise strong, but it was run into the ground by the business owners.”

Wilko’s administrators, PwC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar and Paul Sandle)