Wilko poised to bring in administrators

Wilko is poised to bring in the administrators as it struggles to find a buyer.

The discount retailer’s potential collapse will reportedly put up to 12,000 jobs at risk across its 408 UK stores.

Wilko on Thursday said that it had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators at the high court. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which has been working with Wilko in recent months to try to find a buyer, is lined up as administrator.

Once the administration process is triggered, Wilko will have a 10-day window to try and secure a deal while protected from action by other creditors.

Wilko would be the largest retailer to fall into administration since convenience store chain McColl's last year. McColl's was eventually saved by Morrisons.

Mark Jackson, the chief executive of Wilko, said: “While we can confirm we’ve had a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business, at present, we don’t today have an offer that provides the necessary liquidity in the time we have available, given the mounting cash pressures we’re faced with.”

He added that the business would continue to hold discussions with interested parties with the aim of securing its future “as fast as possible.”

Having struggled for some time, Wilko recently amended the terms of a £40 million credit facility it received earlier this year in order to “bolster the availability of financing”.

In efforts to shore up its finances, Wilko recently also cut more than 400 jobs, sold its Nottinghamshire-based distribution centre to DHL for around £48 million, and set in motion plans to negotiate rent cuts across its store portfolio via a mechanism known as a company voluntary agreement (CVA).

The recent actions have been construed as part of a “restructuring plan”, with Wilko chief executive Mark Jackson telling Sky News the CVB was initiated in January as part of a strategic plan to first stabilise the business and then implement a growth strategy.

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