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Wilko redundancies to start after bid for firm falls through

The only potential bidder, which had said it would protect all 12,500 employees and 400 Wilko sites, missed a deadline set by administrator PwC.

The administrator said “it is now clear that no viable offer structure put forward includes the group in its entirety”, adding that 269 support centre workers will have their last day with the business on Monday.

Wilko has stores throughout Norfolk including in Norwich, Thetford, King’s Lynn, Dereham and Great Yarmouth.

There will be further redundancies across the company’s two distribution centres from early next week.

The St Stephens Street branch in Norwich has had an “everything must go” sale since August 18, with thousands of reductions of up to 50pc across the store. 

The GMB union said a bidder, reported to be M2 Capital, had not submitted the evidence needed to show it could buy the business.

The administrator said discussions are continuing with bidders interested in buying parts of the firm.

Joint administrator Jane Steer of PwC added: “It’s with great sadness that we announce these redundancies.

“We’re incredibly grateful to these team members for the support and dedication they’ve shown to the company, particularly over the last few very difficult weeks.

“We will continue to do all that we can to support staff through this period of difficult upheaval, and to maximise their opportunities for a rapid return to work.”

A bid may come from Canadian businessman Doug Putman, who bought music retailer HMV in 2019.

Earlier this week it was understood that he was still in discussions with PwC over a bid intended to preserve most of Wilko’s stores.

There has also reportedly been interest from Poundland, B&M, The Range and Home Bargains.

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