Second last-minute bid launched to save Wilko, reports say

A second last-minute bid has been launched to save stricken retailer Wilko, according to reports.

Wilko tumbled into administration two weeks ago, putting the future of its 400 shops in doubt.

Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have sought offers from interested firms in an effort to save jobs and stores.

The GMB union said any bid that guarantees jobs “must be prioritised”.

A second last-minute bid worth £90 million has been made by restructuring specialist M2 Capita, the Guardian reported, which could keep the entire Wilko chain trading.

Reacting to reports of a second bid, Andy Prendergast, GMB national secretary, told the PA news agency: “The devil is in the detail but any bid that guarantees jobs must be prioritised.

“Losing Wilko will not only put 12,500 people out of work across the country, but would also be another nail in the coffin of the high street.

“PWC must recognise that creditors are not the only people with a stake on this – working people’s livelihoods must be the priority.”

It comes after Canadian businessman Doug Putman, who bought music retailer HMV in 2019, was believed to be making an offer – which the BBC reported is unlikely to meet legal requirements.

PwC said talk of Mr Putman’s bid was “speculation”.

A spokesperson said: “Since our appointment as administrators of Wilko, we have worked relentlessly to secure a sale of the business, and talks are continuing with a number of parties.

“As administrators we’re intent on achieving the best outcome for everyone involved while preserving as many jobs as possible and adhering to our statutory duty to act in the best interests of the creditors as a whole.

“It would be inappropriate to comment on individual bidders or interested parties at this stage in the process.”

Wilko fell into administration more than 90 years after the chain began as a single hardware shop in Leicester.

Founded by James Kemsey Wilkinson in 1930, the company’s first store opened on Charnwood Street under the Wilkinson Cash Stores brand.