Liverpool retail giant B&M swoops to acquire up to 51 outlets of the collapsed Wilko chain in a £13m deal. Tony McDonough reports
Discount retailer B&M has swooped in to acquire up 51 stores from administrators of the collapsed Wilko chain for £13m.
In an announcement to the stock market on Tuesday morning, Liverpool-based B&M revealed the deal. It comes as a number of possible rescue bids for Wilko falter. Administrators PwC began making redundancies last week.
B&M said in its statement: “B&M European Value Retail confirmed that it has entered into an agreement today with the joint administrators of Wilko Limited (in administration) to acquire up to 51 properties for the maximum aggregate consideration of £13m.
“The consideration is fully funded from existing cash reserves and the acquisition is not expected to be conditional on any regulatory clearances.
“An update on the timing of these new store openings will be provided in the H1 interim results announcement on November 9, 2023.”
B&M, which employs 39,000 people, operates 1,135 stores. This includes 707 UK B&M outlets and 113 B&M stores in France. It also runs 315 Heron frozen food stores in the UK.
Headquartered in Speke in south Liverpool, it enjoys annual sales of around £5bn and. B&M’s main UK-based rival in the value retail space is Home Bargains which also has its headquarters in Liverpool.
Wilko, which operates around 400 discount shops selling food and household goods across the UK, collapsed into administration in August. It had been struggling with a shortage of cash.
There are around 12,500 workers employed by Wilko across the UK with 12 located across the six Liverpool city region boroughs.
There had been hope of a rescue deal led by HMV owner Doug Putman. However, Sky News reported this deal appeared to be faltering. It said Mr Putman was now engaged in talks to incorporate approximately 200 stores into a proposed deal.
PwC announced the first redundancies at Wilko last week. It said that 283 jobs would be lost, mainly at its support centre operations.
“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,” Jane Steer, joint administrator, said last week.
“Our priority is to ensure that all team members affected by redundancy are assisted in processing their claims with immediate effect.”