London, United Kingdom:
The brand of bankrupt British household goods company Wilko, whose recent collapse sparked the loss of about 12,500 jobs, has been sold to a competitor, administrators said Thursday.
Rival budget retailer The Range has “entered into an agreement to acquire the Wilko brand, website and intellectual property,” administrators PwC said in a statement which did not give a price.
Under the deal, online operations will restart in October with The Range retaining 36 employees from Wilko’s digital team.
Wilko, which had 400 stores across Britain, slumped into administration in early August, hit by the cost-of-living crisis and rampant inflation.
“Wilko remains a much loved and trusted brand within the UK,” said Jane Steer, acting for the administrators.
“This sale to The Range will ensure that the Wilko name lives on under their ownership.”
Wilko was synonymous with bargains in household and garden items, from small electrical appliances and cleaning products to suitcases and gardening tools.
The chain prided itself on being a family business — founded in 1930 by JK and Mary Wilkinson in Leicester, central England — before expanding nationwide.
But it ultimately found itself ensnared by Britain’s worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, as increasingly cash-strapped customers curbed their spending in the face of rising bills.
Administrators have meanwhile failed to find a buyer for the chain, sparking vast job losses.
Wilko’s 400 stores will close over the coming weeks, but around 50 will be resurrected by B&M European Value Retail, under their brand, while a further 71 have been snapped up by Poundland, another discount retailer.
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