Beloved British bargain retailer B&M is set to sweep up 51 of the soon-to-be-vacated Wilko shops around the UK after the business went into administration earlier this month.
Equally popular around the country, 400 Wilkos stores are shutting as we speak after PwC were appointed as administrators and the company began its insolvency process on 10 August and now, in a late effort to snap up locations at a lower price, B&M have reportedly scored a £13 million deal.
Not unlike Wilkos, B&M is loved by shoppers not only for its affordable prices but for its wild range of items — where else can you buy wallpaper, stationery, KitKats, pick-and-mix, a fluffy rug and a nice new kettle all under one roof?
While various other brands such as Poundland, Home Bargains and The Range are also looking to take over some of the other spaces, B&M is set to become the first to pick up the pieces and aid their own expansion around the UK.
As a last-minute buyer could not be found, all of Wilko’s 400 units will eventually be taken over by other outlets and with roughly 12,500 jobs on the line, employees are now desperately waiting to see if they will be thrown a lifeline.
The deal itself was made by Canadian entrepreneur Doug Putman, the man responsible for rescuing HMV and owner of Toys R Us back in his home country, who hopes to save as many as 300 Wilko stores in the coming weeks.
However, the long-term takeover is facing the obstacle of numerous Wilko suppliers like Unilever and Procter & Gamble wanting their debts repaid before continuing to supply products.
Other suppliers have already cancelled shipments since the chain went into administration and aren’t expected to resume for a number of weeks and with jobs already being cut at the company’s headquarters and warehouses this week, many people have already parted ways with Wilko.
All that being said, the brand established all the way back in 1930 raked in an annual turnover of approximately £1.2bn and it’s safe to those vying for the remaining stores will be plugging a significant and profitable hole in the UK shopping scene.
As a fellow affordable retailer that sells everything from groceries to hardware, furniture, electronics and more, it feels fitting for B&Ms (Billington & Mayman) to take up so many Wilkos sites. The full list of locations is yet to be revealed and it remains to be seen what other brands will pop in their place too.
Meanwhile, companies like Aldi are telling those facing the chop to get in touch with them about potential new employment.
The Irish star, who just landed his first UK number one album, wants to make customers ‘feel like a big deal’, apparently.
And seeing as he shot to fame with his viral flashmob stunts, he seems like a good choice to be popping up from behind Amazon lockers as people pick up their online shop.
Cian Ducrot comments: “My flash mob performances are all about spreading joy and music, and I loved helping shoppers feel like a big deal at the Amazon Lockers.”
Amazon’s Prime Big Deal Day sales event, which is taking place on 10 and 11 October 2023, will also see the brand hide hundreds of items in Amazon Lockers around the UK.
Over those two days, Prime members who are collecting shopping will be given the opportunity to pick a code, which will open a locker containing a free item to take away.
Surprise locker locations will be in London, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Belfast, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester on 10 and 11 October.
The giveaway runs alongside a Prime member exclusive shopping event, featuring deals on everything Prime members need for Autumn, from making an early start to festive shopping, to stocking up on seasonal essentials.
Council Tax in Manchester could be raised to support the city’s ‘poorest households’
Manchester City Council has laid out plans to potentially raise residents’ Council Tax to help support the “poorest households” in the city.
Councillors are proposing that, under the city’s current Council Tax Support scheme, the amount owed by a household is reduced by up to 100% for pension-age residents with the lowest incomes, and up to 82.5% for working-age residents with the lowest incomes from April 2024 – with the maximum reduction for working-age residents increased by 2.5% to 85%.
This means the maximum that those eligible for support would have to pay is just 15% of the bill, according to Manchester City Council.
At the same time, it’s being proposed that rules allowing reductions to be backdated, in instances where someone “has a good reason not to have claimed sooner”, are extended to allow up to a year’s back payments, rather than up to six months as is currently the case.
With the proposals all laid out, a consultation has been opened and residents living in the Manchester borough are now being asked for their views.
The Council Tax Support scheme currently provides around one fifth of Manchester households with help paying their Council Tax, but it’s estimated that these proposed changes would cost the Council around £770,000 in 2024/25.
This proposed raising of Council Tax also comes after the Council revealed earlier last month that £50 million in funding will go towards upgrading and improving social housing in Manchester over the next two years – with thousands of tenants living in social housing and Council-owned residential complexes across the city and wider borough set to benefit.
Residents in these properties are set receive what is being dubbed “transformational investment” to their homes before 2026.
“We are acutely aware that some residents are really struggling due to cost of living pressures,” admitted Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, who is the Executive Member for Finance at Manchester City Council on the proposals, “and this is why we’ve already introduced a range of measures to help people access food, advice and support.
“As part of this wider response, we want to go even further to help the poorest households in Manchester with their Council Tax, and that’s what these proposals are all about.
“We’re keen to hear your views on what we’re suggesting before we make a final decision.”