The Range buys Wilko brand for £5m

According to administrators at PwC, The Range has snapped up Wilko’s brand, website and intellectual property.

The discount retailer is understood to have paid £5m for the family-owned chain’s assets, Sky News reported. The deal will see Wilko’s online operations recommence after the administration store trading programme concludes in early October. The transaction will also see 36 employees from Wilko’s digital team transferred over to The Range.

PwC joint administrator, Jane Steer, said: “Since our appointment, the feedback from customers and wider stakeholders during this challenging period has reinforced the fact that wilko remains a much loved and trusted brand within the UK.

“This sale to The Range will ensure that the wilko name lives on under their ownership and we wish The Range every success.”

The Range, set up by Devon-based entrepreneur Chris Dawson, had faced competition from online marketplace OnBuy to snap up Wilko’s brand assets. Dawson has grown The Range to more than 200 stores and is in expansion mode. It is currently developing what it claims is the largest distribution centre built in the UK in the past five years, which will help fuel its ambitious growth strategy.

The deal comes as Wilko’s 400 stores are set to close after HMV owner Doug Putman’s offer to take on the bulk of its shops fell through. B&M has inked a deal to buy 52 stores, while Poundland yesterday snapped up 71 shops. Poundland will convert the stores to its brand name, adding that Wilko staff would have priority when applying for roles at the shops.

However, thousands of jobs will be lost as a result of its collapses. A further 9,100 workers were told earlier this week that their jobs would be lost when the stores close by early October. Some 124 stores will close before next Thursday (21 September) while the collapsed retailer’s distribution centre will cease trading on Friday (15 September). Further redundancies of the remaining 210 support centre employees will take place later this month and early October as operations wind down.

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