Wilko stores are to return to high streets across the UK before Christmas under fresh plans set out by the brand’s new owner.
CDS Superstores International, which trades as The Range and owns the Wilko brand and intellectual property rights, said the “public reaction to the loss of Wilko stores was undeniable” following its collapse and has today announced plans to open new shops under the same fascia.
Alex Simpkin, chief executive of CDS, said: “It’s clear that there’s a huge love for Wilko and we’ve seen an encouraging demand for the return of its own-brand products. That’s why we’ve taken the decision to reintroduce Wilko back to many of the high streets and communities that it used to so proudly serve.”
The first two locations will be Plymouth and Exeter, followed by two locations in the southeast and one in the north, the company said. Wilko-branded stores are also planned for Northern Ireland for the first time in its history.
The store plans form part of a wider rollout that will continue into next year, CDS Superstores said.
Shoppers have been able to purchase Wilko products from The Range’s website and its 200 stores since its owner purchased the Wilko brand, website and intellectual property rights in September.
While more than 120 Wilko stores — just over a quarter of its estate — were sold to the discount-retailing rivals B&M and Poundland, more than 300 stores were forced to close.
The plans offer a ray of hope for the high street after the closure of more than 6,000 shops over the past five years, according to research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The new stores will sell Wilko-branded cleaning and household goods, decorating and DIY, garden and outdoor, homeware, pets and wildlife, storage, and seasonal decorations.
CDS Superstores said the “premise of the new stores is very much aligned to offering the very best of what Wilko as a brand that people know, love and trust had to offer, including its advanced own-brand capabilities and digital marketplace, blended with the operational efficiencies of The Range, its buying expertise and infrastructure.”
Wilko was founded by James Kemsey Wilkinson in Leicester in 1930. The family-owned business hired administrators from PwC after it came under pressure from weak consumer spending and debts to suppliers.
PwC then held talks with interested companies but was unable to secure a rescue deal for the whole Wilko business, with a potential takeover by HMV’s owner Doug Putman collapsing.