Wilko to close 15 UK stores this year
Wilko is to close 15 stores in 2022, it announced on Tuesday. The value-focused general merchandise retailer that also sells beauty products has reviewed its store estate as a result of a number of leases ending.
It’s a blow to beleaguered high streets as Wilko locations tend to be fairly large and finding new tenants for such sites often takes some time.
The affected stores are in Bournemouth, Stockton, Birmingham’s The Fort, Shipley, Scunthorpe, Leicester’s Narborough Road, Grantham, Redditch, Rotherham, Skegness, Sutton Coldfield, Edmonton Green, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil, and Cleethorpes.
The company currently operates 414 UK stores and said the decision to shut the sites didn’t mean it was reining-in its store opening and relocation programme.
It seems it hasn’t been able to agree new, favourable terms for the 15 stores that are set to close. Retailers across the UK have spent several years renegotiating rental terms where they could with many now moving to turnover-based rents.
CEO Jerome Saint-Marc, said: “As a business we're evolving and this includes working with landlords for more favourable terms, as well as looking at locations and store formats. We'll continue to pull together to make our business better to secure the future of over 16,000 team members. We'll be doing everything we can to support our affected team members who will be offered any available positions in nearby stores. We apologise to those communities where stores are closing.”
It added that 11 of the stores had another branch within a five-mile radius. But that wouldn’t necessarily mean affected staff would find it easy to travel to those stores and — importantly — customers may also not be prepared to travel to them.
Wilko’s most recent accounts for the year to last January showed its sales fell 10.5% to £1.28 billion and pre-tax profits fell almost 13% to £5.5 million.
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