Wilko rescue deal could take weeks – leaving future of 400 shops and 12,500 jobs up in the air | The Sun

A WILKO rescue deal could take weeks to come to light – leaving the future of hundreds of stores and thousands of jobs up in the air.

It comes after administrators at PwC told The Sun that several offers to rescue the chain were made on Wednesday night.

At the moment, PwC is yet to confirm how many bids have been submitted to rescue Wilko.

And sources said that the bids would take a while to process.

They told The Sun that an announcement could come on Monday, but have since pushed back on this citing the lengthy review process.

Sources at PwC have now said that while it's possible that an announcement could be made at the end of next week it might actually come in two weeks time.

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Wilko collapsed into administration last week after failing to find new backing for the business.

It puts the chain's 400 stores at risk of closing and around 12,500 jobs on the line.

But the GMB union said yesterday that there are "genuine grounds for hope" over the future of stricken retailer Wilko after expressions of interest from potential buyers during the administration process.

"GMB has met with administrators and the company as part of the formal consultation process," said Andy Prendergast, GMB national secretary.

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"We can confirm there have been expressions of interest from organisations who are considering taking over at least some parts of the business.

"These are still at an early stage, but means there are genuine grounds for hope.

"Whilst this process continues staff will continue to be paid and kept on. All stores are continuing to trade, and deliveries of new stock will continue."

The Sun previously reported that several potential buyers have shown an interest in Wilko's business, one in particular could save as many as 300 branches from closing down and would preserve the most jobs.

But it is understood that early expressions of interest were mixed, and the majority of offers are for between 40 to 50 stores.

Discount retailers B&M, The Range, Poundland and Home Bargains have all expressed an interest, according to sources – but they would have needed to officially throw their hats in the ring on Wednesday.

The Sun understands one of the potential bidders would be keen to keep the Wilko name.

But even if a buyer is found, the insolvency process means that a buyer can pick and choose the parts of a business it wants.

This means that both the stores and the brand could be saved.

Or it may choose to buy no stores at all and instead buy up the remaining stock or brand name only.

Sources cautioned that no deal is guaranteed.

Sources at both Next and Poundstretcher previously told The Sun that they had no interest in rescuing Wilko.

Wilko launched a huge new sale yesterday with up to 50% off thousands of items including Christmas essentials.

The Sun spoke to two sales experts to find out what items are worth picking up in the sale – and the ones to steer clear of.

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Fresh stock is also on the way and shops will see their aisles replenished as early as Monday.

It comes as shoppers were left disappointed after spotting bare aisles in their local shop, despite the launch of the administration sale.

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