The Range has agreed to acquire Wilko's brand, website and intellectual property, the administrators for the collapsed retailer have announced. PwC, which was hired to oversee Wilko's insolvency last month, said it expects online operations to recommence once Wilko's store closure programme ends in early October. The deal for an undisclosed sum will also see 36 employees from Wilko's Digital Team transfer over to The Range. This sale to The Range ensures that the Wilko name lives on under their ownership and we wish The Range every success, said Jane Steer, executive vice president of operations.
I am also delighted that we were able to retain the Wilko digital trading team, said Alex Simpkin, chief executive officer of The Range. The team is highly skilled and experienced, and it means a lot to us to ensure that we could save as many 'fellow' retail positions as possible. These are exciting times for The Range Group, I am delighted that Wilko will join our family of companies, said Chris Dawson, founder and chairman of The Range Group.
In August, Wilko fell into administration and started shutting down shops on Tuesday after a rescue deal by the owner of HMV fell through. In recent weeks, a number of discount retailers, including B&M and Poundland, have been purchasing leases from Wilko to save select stores, which will be rebranded.
The Pepco group, owned by Poundland, has agreed to purchase 71 stores and the full list of locations has been announced. Wilko said its staff would have priority when applying for new jobs at the shops. The lease assignments are due to end in early autumn and will see the shops become part of Poundland's extensive UK network consisting of more than 800 locations. However, B&M has signed a £13 million deal to buy up to 51 Wilko stores, which are yet to be announced.