Wilko to axe 400 staff in bid to stabilise business

16th February 2023 | Lisa Pilkington

Wilko plans to axe more than 400 jobs across its business as part of a restructure to stabilise the firm.

The troubled discount retailer has found it difficult to recover from the pandemic and subsequent lower footfalls, coupled with the fall in consumer spending due to the cost-of-living crisis.

The staffing cuts include 150 assistant store managers and around 95 workers from its contact centre in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, as well as a range of senior head office roles.

Speaking to The Guardian, Mark Jackson, the chief executive of Wilko, said: “We’ve identified significant changes to the Wilko operating model to enable us to stabilise the business and then thrive again. This includes some proposed changes to our management structure at both our stores and head office.

“We’re fully supporting affected individuals. We know change will be unsettling to our team members and the wider business, and we’re acting swiftly to put in place the new organisational structure to stabilise and grow.”

The GMB union confirmed it is in talks with Wilko, which employs a total of 16,000 staff, in a bid to reduce job losses.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “Wilko is going through significant changes at the moment and ultimately the business is in a fight for survival.”

Last month, Wilko announced that it had secured a £40m loan from restructuring specialist Hilco which owns DIY chain Homebase. It has been struggling to pay suppliers.

The family-owned housewares retailer has previously warned that if trading continued to deteriorate and no further funding could be secured, then it ran the risk of running out of cash by the end of 2023.

Meanwhile, Chris Howell, the former Bensons for Beds chair has been appointed chair of Wilko, taking over from Lisa Wilkinson, a member of the founding family.


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