Poundland to take over three Notts Wilko stores as council pledges support for staff

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Retailer Poundland has agreed to buy 71 high street stores currently owned by now-collapsed rival Wilko – including three in Nottinghamshire.

High street units in Beeston, Kimberley and Worksop will become Poundland outlets as part of Wilko’s ongoing administration process.

All three sites will be turned into new shops after the trading period of Wilko’s stores ends, with all 400 existing Wilko units to close by mid-October.

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A further 51 Wilko stores nationally are to be taken on by rival retailer B&M, though the locations are subject to a confidentiality agreement.

Wilko on Portland Square, Sutton. (Photo by: Local Democracy Reporting Service)Wilko on Portland Square, Sutton. (Photo by: Local Democracy Reporting Service)
Wilko on Portland Square, Sutton. (Photo by: Local Democracy Reporting Service)

Administrators have said the 122 units included across the Poundland and B&M deals currently employ more than 3,200 Wilko workers combined.

The GMB Union and administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers say they are working to negotiate roles for Wilko staff at those stores, as the sale does not include a transfer of jobs.

The first round of Wilko closures began this week with 24 stores closing on Tuesday. A further 28 stores are to close later this week. None were in Nottinghamshire.

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PwC also confirmed the Clifton, Kimberley and Sherwood Wilko stores will close on Tuesday, September 19, as part of a second round of closures, with Beeston and Carlton’s sites due to close two days later on September 21.

However, there is no confirmation on the future of the remaining nine Nottinghamshire stores – Arnold, Bulwell, Giltbrook, Hucknall, Mansfield, Newark, Nottingham, Retford and Sutton.

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Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Council leader, described the planned closure of Hucknall and Sutton’s stores as “devastating” for his towns.

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His authority has since pledged support for affected staff and he says the council will try to attract retailers to fill the “huge spaces left by Wilko”.

He said said: “This is devastating for both employers and our town centres.

“As a council, we are offering as much support we can, alongside the Department for Work & Pensions to affected workers.

“These stores are a huge part of the retail offer in both Hucknall and Sutton.

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Retailers like Wilko faced an existential crisis due to inflationary pressure, the cost-of-living crisis and rising interest rates.

“This will have a heavy impact on Hucknall and Sutton. As a council, we will act swiftly to attract retailers to fill the huge spaces left by Wilko.”

A similar offer of support to affected Wilko workers has been issued by Labour-run Bassetlaw Council, where the retailer’s HQ is based.

The council says about 2,000 jobs will be lost across its district – akin “to a pit closure” – due to the headquarters, support offices and distribution centre all closing.

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The council is hosting a drop-in employment day today, Thursday, from 11am to 4pm at Worksop’s The Bridge Skills Hub, offering job help from local employers and support from education and training providers.

There will also be information on retraining, debt and money advice, housing, health and wellbeing.

Coun Jo White, council deputy leader and cabinet member for business and skills, said: “Many staff at Wilko have worked there for a very long time and this may be their first experience looking for another job.

“With its HQ, a distribution centre and two shops in Bassetlaw, we will be losing about 2,000 jobs.

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“There are also associated supply chain jobs at risk. This is a similar level to a pit closure or a garment factory going under.

“As a council, we are pulling out all the stops to support our residents affected by the collapse of Wilko.”