HMV boss in talks with waning retailer Wilko

The owner of HMV, Doug Putman, has offered a lifeline to retailer Wilko, after a purchase of the business fell through this month. Tony McDonough reports.

Lord Street
Around one in seven shops and one in five shopping centres units are now empty

Wilko, which has 400 UK stores and employs over 12,000 people, announced it was calling in administrators earlier this month.

Twelve of its stores are in Merseyside, meaning potentially hundreds of local jobs could be lost.

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However, it has been reported that Doug Putman, owner of HMV and Toys R Us in Canada, is in talks with the retailer about a deal that could save up to half its stores and rescue thousands of jobs.

Rising inflation and a sharp downturn in profits from sales saw Wilko’s profits plummet by almost £40m last year.

But it is not the only high-street retailer to face potential demise. In January, asset management company Schroders reported that around one in seven shops in the UK, and one in five shopping centre units are now empty.

Administrators for Wilko, PwC, said in a statement this week: “While discussions continue with those interested in buying parts of the business, it’s clear that the nature of this interest is not focused on the whole group.

“Sadly, it is therefore likely that there will be redundancies and store closures in the future.”

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