Customers ‘devastated’ by loss of Wilko stores in region

It was announced on Tuesday that Poundland owner Pepco has agreed to buy up to 71 Wilko stores following the collapse of the high street chain.

In the North-East and North Yorkshire, branches included in this deal include Northallerton and Thornaby.

PwC, administrators for Wilko, said Pepco has sealed a deal that will see the stores reopened under the Poundland brand.

Workers at the stores will not be transferred directly as part of the move, but Poundland has said it will “prioritise” existing Wilko workers for roles when the shops are opened under the new brand.

The agreement came a day after administrators confirmed all Wilko’s remaining shop, warehouse and support centre workers are set to lose their jobs after failing to secure a rescue deal.

Administrators had previously struck a deal for fellow discount chain B&M to buy 51 other Wilko stores.

Wilko branches in Bishop Auckland and Newton Aycliffe had their last day of trade on Tuesday.

Richard Garfield, who has been a regular visitor to the Bishop Auckland Wilko store, said: “It’s just devastating. I walked around and it is upsetting. I’m sorry for all the people in there losing their jobs.

“The local economy is struggling as it is. Hopefully, B&M take over more stores.”

Jill Wilkinson vented her frustration at the state of the high street in Bishop Auckland.

She said: “The high street is becoming a disgrace. People that have lived here all their lives have seen a steady decline. There’s nothing left in the town. They are building a bus station but what is the point if there is nothing to come in to do?”

The Wilko store in Newton Aycliffe closed for good at the end of the day.

Arthur Robinson left the shop for the last time and described the situation as “ridiculous”.

He said: “There seems to have been no attempt to keep some of the stores open. All of the recent announcements have been waves of closures. Everybody likes Wilkos. It just makes you think what will be next? In five years, Newton Aycliffe will be a ghost town.”

Darlington and Stockton Times | Business News