British bargain retailer B&M to buy 51 Wilko stores after business collapses

Manchester's Arndale site is one of hundreds set to close but could soon be replaced by the equally familiar and affordable chain.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 5th September 2023

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.

Read more:

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.

For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.

Featured Image — B&M/Wilko