WORKERS in three Tameside towns find their jobs under threat after retail chain Wilko entered administration.
Talks aimed at saving the group, which has stores in Ashton-under-Lyne, Denton and Droylsden, failed to get a deal done in time.
Now administrators have been appointed, it is uncertain whether Wilko will survive, even though talks with talks with Gordon Brothers, owners of Laura Ashley, Bensons for Beds owner Alteri, private equity firm OpCapita and a rival retailer had been taking place.
“Given the cash position, we’ve been left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action,” said Wilko CEO Mark Jackson.
“Over the past six months Wilko has been very open that we’ve been considering options to accelerate a turnaround plan given that we needed to make significant changes to the way we operate to restore confidence and stabilise our business.
“We left no stone unturned when it came to preserving this incredible business but must concede that with regret, we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration.
“Since January and with the help of retail advisers and experts, we’ve been facing into problems and have seen real progress against many areas of our plan.
“We’ve made significant savings across our cost base and have been considering various options based on advice given regarding our store costs.”
“We’ve all fought hard to keep this incredible business intact but must concede that time has run out and now, we must do what’s best to preserve as many jobs as possible, for as long as is possible, by working with our appointed administrators.”
Wilko, founded in Leicester in the 1930s, grew to 400 stores and secured £40 million of funding from restructuring specialist Hilco late last year.
Jackson, who took the helm in 2022, sought to cut costs and rebuild funds by axing more than 400 jobs and selling its Worksop distribution centres.
But that was unable to prevent administration, which plunges the Ashton, Denton and Droylsden stores into uncertainty.