Poundland to take over 71 Wilko stores as chain winds down

Poundland, the owner of the value retailer Poundland, has agreed to lease 71 Wilko shops as part of the closure of the chain.

Pepco’s parent company said that the locations were in desirable areas and would be converted into Poundland shops later this year, if negotiations were successful with landlords. Poundland has over 800 stores in the UK.

The group said it would give priority to hiring Wilko employees who face redundancy due to the failure of a deal that would have saved a large portion of the estate.

Barry Williams, Poundland’s managing director, said: “We understand that the last few weeks were difficult for the Wilko employees and will move quickly to obtain new consents from the landlords so that we can offer the certainty they deserve.”

Value chain stores have been adding new products to their assortment, such as clothing and homewares, and even chilled and frozen foods, to offer shoppers an alternative to supermarkets.

This news comes just a day after Pepco announced that Trevor Masters, the chief executive of Pepco in Europe and Dealz in Europe, would be stepping down immediately.

Andy Bond, the chair of the board will assume the role of executive chairman to lead the executive and management team of the company, until a permanent CEO is appointed.

Separately administrators at PwC confirmed the agreement with Poundland Tuesday. They said that other retailers are still interested in Wilko’s remaining sites, and they hope to sell Wilko’s brand and intellectual properties “within the next few days”.

Chris Bonnett, owner of online garden centre GardeningExpress.co.uk, said on Tuesday that he had made an “extremely compelling offer” to acquire the Wilko brand and website.

He added, “I have made what I believe is a generous proposal to PwC in exchange for the Wilko.com business and brand as well as the staff required to make it work.”

PwC announced yesterday that Wilko will disappear from high streets next month. This is expected to lead to 12,500 job losses. Around 300 Wilko stores and distribution centres are expected to close in the coming weeks. The administrators said that despite their “extensive” efforts, the retail chain was unable to be saved in its present form.