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HMV owner’s bid for UK retailer Wilko falls through

A last-ditch bid to save thousands of jobs at struggling UK household goods retailer Wilko has collapsed.

HMV owner Doug Putnam was in talks to save thosuands of jobs at struggling UK retailer Wilko
HMV owner Doug Putnam was in talks to save thosuands of jobs at struggling UK retailer Wilko - Copyright AFP Fred DUFOUR
HMV owner Doug Putnam was in talks to save thosuands of jobs at struggling UK retailer Wilko - Copyright AFP Fred DUFOUR

A last-ditch bid to save thousands of jobs at struggling UK household goods retailer Wilko has collapsed, the owner of the HMV music store chain said on Monday.

Canadian businessman Doug Putnam was in talks with administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers to buy some 200 shops at Wilko, which went bust in August.

But he said those discussions to rescue it as a going concern had reached an end, despite having backing from Wilko management, staff and PwC.

“We had financing in place and received the full support of PwC, Wilko management and staff representatives,” he said in a statement.

“A stable foundation could not be secured to ensure long-term success for the business and its people in the way that we would have wanted,” he added.

Wilko, which operated some 400 stores across the UK and online, announced its collapse on August 10, putting 12,500 jobs at risk.

It blamed stubbornly high inflation and interest rates affecting businesses and consumers.

Last week, B&M European Value Retail said it had agreed a £13-million ($16.3-million) deal to buy 51 Wilko stores.

But PwC aid 52 Wilko stores were not part of the rescue package and would close, putting more than 1,300 staff out of work as soon as this week.

Nearly 300 other jobs will go at two distribution centres.

Sky News reported that administrators were in discussions with low-cost retailer Poundland over a possible deal to take on 100 Wilko stores.

AFP
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