Wilko to shut stores putting jobs at risk

Retailer Wilko will shut down 15 of its stores this year – including four branches in Yorkshire and Humber – placing hundreds of jobs at risk.

The firm said the stores affected will close as leases end and favourable terms cannot be agreed.

The GMB union has warned the decision threatens more than 300 roles. And it has also described the decision as “another nail in the High Street’s coffin”.

Wilko has announced that the first store to close will be in Shipley next month, Scunthorpe in March, Rotherham in June, and Cleethorpes in October.

The home and garden retailer’s chief executive, Jerome Saint-Marc, said he could not rule out the prospect of jobs being lost.

He said: “Our history is steeped in serving our customers and communities going back to 1930 but there’s no denying the way people shop with us and where they want to shop with us is changing.

“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.”

Roger Jenkins, GMB National Officer said the closures are devastating for Wilko workers and the communities who use them.

“It’s yet another nail in the High Street’s coffin and GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents.

“Empty high streets and shopping centres are in no one’s interest and but with 400 shops a week closing, this is inevitable – unless the costs of premises can be reduced.

“GMB will now meet with Wilko members to discuss our next steps.”