Wilko’s two distribution centres at Worksop in Nottinghamshire and Newport in Wales are set to close by Friday next week (22 September), with the loss of more than 300 jobs, whilst the retailer's 408 stores will close by early October, according to administrators PwC.

The announcement of the store closures follows the collapse of a bid by HMV owner Doug Putman. Had the bid been succesful it would have saved around 200 stores. However the offer had never included the two depots.

GMB said this week that redundancy is now likely for all 12,500 workers. Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, added: “Wilko was far more than a brand, a retailer or the products it sold, it was the thousands of loyal team members now facing an uncertain future.

“Wilko may have ceased genuinely being a family brand many years ago, but the staff kept the real family ethos of Wilko alive until the very end. It is the family that Wilko colleagues made for themselves that will be missed the most.

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“This isn’t a tragedy without cause. Wilko should have thrived in a bargain retail sector that is otherwise strong, but it was run into the ground by the business owners.

“Money was siphoned out of the business for dividends, warnings about what needed to be done to save the business were not heeded and advice around what the business to do to thrive was not listened to.

“No worker caused the downfall of Wilko. But they will be the ones who will suffer – all as the owners get off scot-free. GMB will not stop campaigning for the owners of this debacle to be held to account.”

In an attempt to stay afloat Wilko borrowed millions from restructuring specialist Hilco, cut jobs and restructured its management team, as well as selling off one of its DCs, as it struggled with the impact of inflation and falling customer numbers as the cost of living crisis took its toll.