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Wilko suspends home deliveries in race for potential rescue deal

High street retailer Wilko has paused home deliveries on its website as it remains to secure a rescue deal.

According to the retailer, home delivery is “temporarily unavailable”, instead offering click-and-collect in “as little as two hours”.

The move comes as Wilko warned that it was on the brink of collapse last week after it filed a notice to appoint administrators, placing over 12,000 jobs at risk.

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Wilko is ranked as a Top100 retailer in the 2023 RetailX Top500 report

In a statement, CEO Mark Jackson confirmed that the embattled business was struggling to find a buyer which it needed to provide “necessary liquidity” given the “mounting cash pressures” it was facing.

“While we can confirm we’ve had a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business, at present,” Jackson said.

“Unfortunately, with this in mind, today [3 August 2023] we’re having to take the difficult decision to file a NOI [notice of intention].”

A timeline of events:

1930: Wilko was founded when JK Wilkinson opened his first store in Leicester.

1938-39: At the end of the decade, the retailer had six stores.

1990s: By the end of the 90s Wilkinson had over 152 shops across the UK.

2008: The first new-look stores opened in Sheffield, Leicester and Walton-on-Thames.

2010: The retailer rolled out its rebrand programme across 80 stores.

2017: In August, the company confirmed it commenced a redundancy consultation period affecting 4,000 job roles.

2018: Wilko posted a £65 million loss for the 12 months that ended on 3 February.

2022: In January, it was reported the company was planning to close 15 stores, affecting hundreds of jobs.

In October, the company drafted in advisers from Teneo to help cut costs.

One month later, the company secured plans with logistics firm DHL to unlock £48 million as part of a strategic 15-year partnership agreement. The move was to improve its proposition and customer experience across its 402 stores and online.

In the same month, Wilko managing director Alison Hands announced her departure from the struggling retailer, which was at the time, in emergency talks with lenders to secure a £30 million lifeline.

At the time, Wilko also reported a loss of £36.8 million in the year to 29 January, with CEO Jerome Saint-Marc stating the “last financial year was tough for retail and that has continued into the year”.

2023: In January, the stationary retailer secured a £40 million funding lifeline from Hilco UK, the parent company of Cath Kidston.

The company also replaced Lisa Wilkinson, the granddaughter of the retailer’s founder, with restructuring expert Chris Howell.

A few days later, it was reported 95 jobs at Wilko’s contact centre in Worksop were at risk, as the company planned to outsource its customer service operations. In the same month, Wilko revealed it was to stop stocking toys across its stores, instead focusing more on its heritage of selling garden and household goods.

In February, Wilko revealed it was cutting 400 jobs, including assistant store managers, retail supervisors, head office managers and call centre workers in a bid to streamline costs.

However, just days later the company made changes to its senior team with Wilko group finance director Dave Murphy becoming CFO, Retail director Amanda Jones taking on the position of chief operating officer and Anne-Marie Haydock being made HR director.

However, in May, the company revealed it was mulling a company voluntary arrangement to renegotiate rents and resulting in potential store closures, with the company hiring property agent CBRE to discuss rent cuts a month later, which meant landlords were facing the possibility of receiving no rent for the next three years.

In July, Hilco agreed to lend the struggling retailer £5 million on top of its £40 million loan in January.

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