Union criticises B&M Wilko deal

8th September 2023 | Jack Oliver

GMB Union has criticised B&M after it acquired 51 Wilko stores whilst leaving the futures of affected staff in doubt.

B&M acquired the stores on Tuesday morning for £13m, just hours before Wilko’s administrators announced the closures of over 50 stores.

The deal only involves the stores themselves, and the accompanying statement made no comment about whether staff members would be able to retain their jobs. It also did not specify which stores had been acquired.

The 51 stores are expected to reopen under the B&M fascia, although some could take on the Heron frozen foods brand also owned by the retailer’s parent group.

GMB national officer Andy Prendergast said: “The fact the deal with B&M is for physical stores only is frankly baffling. The company really needs to be explain why they are unwilling to transfer in the able, experienced retail staff they will obviously need.

“It looks like a cynical attempt to ditch liabilities and reinforces the view people are treated as the least important part of in this process. Frankly, the workforce deserve better.”

Wilko fell into administration in August after a difficult post-Pandemic period saw lower footfalls and a decline in consumer spending due to the cost-of-living crisis.

At the time, Wilko employed over 12,500 members of staff across around 400 stores. The first redundancies began this week at two distribution centres in Worksop and Newport, after being put on hold as administrators considered Canadian businessman Doug Putman’s last-minute offer.


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