Blackpool monitoring Wilko situation as store nears completion
The hardware and household retailer announced its intention to appoint administrators yesterday, leaving its plans for a 22,000 sq ft outlet at Houndshill Shopping Centre up in the air.
A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the situation surrounding Wilko and their recent issuance of notice to appoint administrators.”
Wilko signed a 15-year lease on the store in 2021 after its former town centre shop was demolished to make way for a four-star Holiday Inn and Marco Pierre White restaurant as part of the ongoing Talbot Gateway regeneration.
The retailer’s Houndshill unit forms part of Blackpool Council’s plans to expand the shopping complex it bought for £47.6m in 2019.
As well as Wilko, cinema operator MMC Cinemas has signed a 25-year lease to operate a nine-screen IMAX cinema at Houndshill.
Work on the expansion, which is being delivered by Graham, is due to complete in the coming weeks.
The spokesperson added: “Whilst the extent of [Wilko’s] insolvency procedure remains unclear, the successful delivery of the Phase 2 project at the Houndshill remains a top priority for the council, and we are in discussions with the tenant to ratify their long-term position within the town centre. We will then reassess our options as necessary.”
Wilko had been looking for a buyer in recent months and secured a £40m cash boost from Homebase owner Hilco earlier this year.
However, the retailer, which has around 400 stores nationwide, announced its intention to appoint PwC as administrator on Thursday.
Mark Jackson, the chief executive of Wilko, said: “While we can confirm we’ve had a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business, at present, we don’t today have an offer that provides the necessary liquidity in the time we have available, given the mounting cash pressures we’re faced with.
“Unfortunately, with this in mind, today we’re having to take the difficult decision to file a notice of intention [to appoint administrators].”
Wilko has tens of stores across the North West including at the Arndale in Manchester, St John’s Centre in Liverpool, and the Rock in Bury.