Wilko Limited, formerly Wilkinson Cash Stores Limited, Wilkinson Hardware Stores, Limited, and Wilko Retail Limited, is a British high-street retail chain which sells homewares and household goods. The company was founded in Leicester by James Kemsey Wilkinson in 1930, and remained in the ownership of the founding family.

Wilko Limited
  • Wilkinson Cash Stores Limited
  • Wilkinson Hardware Stores, Limited
  • Wilko Retail Limited
TypePrivate limited company
Founded1930; 93 years ago (1930);
Leicester, England
FounderJames Kemsey Wilkinson
SuccessorThe Range[1]
HeadquartersWorksop, England
Number of locations
Decrease 408 (2022)
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Mark Jackson (CEO)
Amanda Jones (COO)
Lisa Wilkinson (Director)
RevenueDecrease £1,241 million (2022)
Decrease -£37.57 million (2022)
Total assetsDecrease £99.5 million (2022)
Number of employees
Decrease 14,273 (2022)
Footnotes / references

In August 2023, the company entered administration after being faced with financial and supply issues for some time, which put 12,000 jobs at risk. The Range acquired Wilko's brand name, website and intellectual property the following month.[1]

History Edit

The first Wilkinson store was opened by James Kemsey Wilkinson and his fiancee Mary Cooper at 151 Charnwood Street, Leicester in 1930, and a second store was opened in Wigston Magna, near Leicester, in 1932. Nine branches were opened by 1939.[5]

The Beaconsfield store can be seen in the background of a scene in the film Brief Encounter (1945).[citation needed] By the end of the 1980s, the chain had 78 stores, increasing to over 150 by the time of the founder's death in 1997.[5]

The founder's son, Tony Wilkinson, joined the company as a branch manager in 1960 and succeeded his father as chairman in 1972, retiring in June 2005. Tony was succeeded by his daughter, Lisa Wilkinson, and his niece, Karin Swann.[6] In 2014, Swann sold her family's 50% holding in the business to Lisa Wilkinson.[3]

Wilkinson opened its first Scottish outlet in Castle Douglas in January 2009.[7]

In 2012, Wilkinson began rebranding its stores as Wilko, after its own brand products already marketed under the Wilko name, and by 2014, most stores had been rebranded.[8][9][10]

A member of one side of the Wilkinson family, Karin Swann, sold her 50% share of the business to the other side of the family in 2014, leaving Tony Wilkinson, his wife Christine and Lisa Wilkinson the sole owners of the company, and Lisa Wilkinson the chairman. Swann wanted to pursue other business interests and the decision did not represent a falling-out of the family.[3]

Interior of a Wilko branch in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

In August 2017, Wilko began negotiations with the GMB trade union over the company's plan to cut 4,000 jobs.[11] The board paid the family owners a £3 million dividend.[12]

In March 2018, Wilko began to sell 285 of its own brand products in Dubai through Ace Hardware, marking the first time that Wilko had sold through another retailer.[13]

In June 2020, Warpaint London, a cosmetics company, signed a deal with Wilko to sell their products in UK shops.[14]

In January 2022, Wilko announced the closure of 15 stores with costly long leases.[15] Wilko paid its owners, led by the Wilkinson family, a £3 million dividend again.[16]

Administration Edit

Wilko closing down sale, Wood Green, north London
Administration sale, Wood Green, north London

In January 2023, Wilko confirmed it had borrowed £40 million from the restructuring firm Hilco Capital.[16] It followed this in February with plans to cut up to 400 jobs.[17]

On 3 August 2023, Wilko announced its intention to appoint administrators as it was seeking a buyer following a period of difficult trading conditions.[18] The company entered administration on 10 August,[19] with shops to stay open in the short term. CEO Mark Jackson said management would work with administrators PwC to "preserve as many jobs as possible".[20][21] A deadline for offers was set for 16 August 2023.[22]

During the wind down of the business, it was reported that its owners had taken £77 million out of the company in the preceding decade.[23]

In September 2023, B&M bought 51 Wilko stores for £13 million.[24] Despite the sale, it was announced that there would be a further 1,332 job losses, with 52 stores set to close the following week.[25] Poundland acquired 71 Wilko stores and stated it would prioritise the recruitment of former Wilko staff.[26] The Range acquired the Wilko brand, website and intellectual property for an undisclosed sum. 36 workers from Wilko's digital team transferred over to The Range as part of the deal.[1]

Distribution Edit

The company awarded a five-year logistics contract to Wincanton plc in March 2017, replacing Canute Haulage Group after 29 years.[27]

In September 2019, the GMB union announced that its members would strike over a new weekend working proposal at the distribution centres. The strikes planned for four dates in October 2019 were called off after an improved offer was made by Wilko.[28]

Following the departure of Wilko, Canute Haulage Group themselves entered administration and later liquidation, in 2019.[29]

Financial performance Edit

Turnover for the year ending February 2022 was in excess of £1.2 billion.[30][failed verification]

Financial statistics
(annual figures in £ thousands)[30][failed verification]
Year ending Turnover Operating
February 2023 Under 1 Billion (under 30,000) (under 30,000)
February 2022 1,241,242 (37,572) (31,903)
February 2021 1,283,251 5,063 4,481
February 2020 1,428,491 2,069 3,752
February 2019 1,508,690 (2,438) 13,926
February 2018 1,619,147 8,227 (52,878)
February 2017 1,517,763 17,994 16,046
February 2016 1,464,475 23,638 15,910

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c Saker-Clark, Henry (14 September 2023). "The Range confirms deal to buy Wilko brand and website". Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 September 2023.
  2. ^ Holmes, David (29 February 2016). "Wilko opens bigger Chester store on March 3". Chester Chronicle. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Ruddick, Graham (2 August 2014). "Wilkinson family split after 84 years in retail". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Annual Report 2020". Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Corporate - Home". Wilko. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Rich List 2013: No.=16 – Tony Wilkinson (£480m)". Birmingham Post. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  7. ^ Gillespie, Stuart (23 August 2017). "Jobs on the line at Castle Douglas store". Daily Record.
  8. ^ "Wilko — Annual Review 2012" (PDF). Wilko Corporate. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  9. ^ Holland, Tiffany (22 April 2014). "Wilkinson rebrands store estate to 'Wilko' matching new strapline". Retail Week. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  10. ^ Lanyon, Daniel (16 March 2013). "Wilkinson rebrand to 'Wilko' gathers pace". The Grocer. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  11. ^ Ahmed, Murad (11 August 2017). "Wilko looks at cutting more than 4,000 jobs". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  12. ^ Neate, Rupert (11 August 2017). "Wilko warns nearly 4,000 staff could lose jobs". The Guardian.
  13. ^ "A bargain British brand is here in Dubai". Dubai Week. 4 March 2018. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  14. ^ Gilbert, Iain (1 June 2020). "Warpaint London products to be launched in Wilko stores". sharecast. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  15. ^ "The complete list of the 15 Wilko stores set to close in 2022". ITV News. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  16. ^ a b Butler, Sarah (4 January 2023). "Wilko secures £40m funding from Hilco as it faces cash squeeze". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Butler, Sarah (15 February 2023). "Wilko plans to cut 400 jobs as part of restructuring after fall in sales". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  18. ^ Butler, Sarah (3 August 2023). "Budget retailer Wilko set to call in administrators, risking 12,000 jobs". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  19. ^ Masud, Faarea (10 August 2023). "Wilko to stay open for now in race to save jobs". BBC News. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  20. ^ Binns, Daniel (10 August 2023). "Around 12,500 jobs at risk as Wilko goes into administration". Sky News. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  21. ^ Downes, Hannah (10 August 2023). "Wilko goes into administration: what you need to know". Which?. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  22. ^ Jordan, Dearbail (14 August 2023). "Wilko: Bidders given Wednesday deadline for rescue offers". BBC News. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  23. ^ Goldfingle, Gemma (13 August 2023). "Wilko owners took £77m out of business in last decade". Retail Gazette. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  24. ^ Butterworth, Benjamin (5 September 2023). "B&M agrees to buy 51 Wilko stores after collapse of rival bargain chain". I. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  25. ^ Sillars, James (5 September 2023). "Wilko store closures and 1,300 more job losses confirmed despite B&M deal". Sky News. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  26. ^ O'Boyle, Daniel (12 September 2023). "Poundland to save 71 Wilko shops in last-minute deal and rebrand them under its own name". Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  27. ^ "Wincanton wins five-year contract with wilko". Post and Parcel. 20 March 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  28. ^ "Wilko strike: Workers suspend action after 'last-ditch' offer". BBC News. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Canute Haulage Group Limited Filing History". Companies House. 31 August 2023. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  30. ^ a b "Wilko Limited overview – Find and update company information". GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 May 2022.

External links Edit