Wilko collapse to take retail job losses to 100,000 since 2020

The collapse of high street chain Wilko is set to take UK retail job losses to more than 100,000 since 2020.

According to new figures from the Centre for Retail Research, there have been more than 17,000 job losses at large and medium-sized retailers so far in 2023. This figure accounts for some, but not the majority of Wilko's 12,500 staff.

B&M and Poundland have agreed deals with administrator PwC to acquire 122 of Wilko’s 400 stores, but it is uncertain how many Wilko staff these locations will hold on to. Poundland has said that Wilko staff would have priority when applying for jobs at the 71 stores it picked up.

The 17,000 losses in the first nine months of 2022 stands as a stark reminder of an ongoing crisis in retail, eclipsing the 6,732 jobs lost in 2020. This year however appears moderate for job losses when compared to 2020 and 2021 where 53,364 and 24,179 jobs were lost respectively, with the former seeing most of its losses stem from the Covid-19 pandemic’s nationwide lockdowns.

Factoring in all Wilko staff, the report notes that more than 101,000 people have lost their jobs in retail since 2020. In that period, many high profile retailers have collapsed such as Debenhams while others like House of Fraser have significantly or altogether sized down their physical footprint.

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