Shropshire Star

Market Drayton mayor shares concerns for redundant Wilko staff and their families

A Shropshire mayor has spoken of the financial uncertainty the loss of a major high street chain will have on staff and their families.

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Wilko in Market Drayton is one of those set to close. Photo: Google

It comes following the announcement that all Wilko shops will close by early October, with 9,100 people – shop, warehouse and support centre workers – set to lose their jobs; although a deal has been struck for Poundland owner Pepco Group to take control of up to 71 Wilko store leases from the administrators.

Mayor of Market Drayton, Roy Aldcroft, has spoken of his regret over the loss of the store in the market town, which sits in a prominent place on Frogmore Road, near to the Festival Drayton Centre.

Councillor Aldcroft has already spoken about the impact the store's closure would have on people who have been affected by the cost of living crisis.

Now, he has shared his concern for staff who have been made redundant, as well as their families, who will face financial uncertainty on the lead up to Christmas.

Mayor Aldcroft said: "What a blow to hear the last-minute failure of negotiations to save this well-loved local store.

"On the approach to Christmas, the effect on staff and their families with job uncertainty and financial concerns adds to the burden of redundancy.

"Speaking to one member of staff who had worked there for eighteen years, she had no idea what she would do when the store closed.

"For customers, Wilko was one of the few multi-item stores in the town centre for good quality goods at reasonable prices. For those without transport, this was a particular advantage.

"This leaves two large retail units empty in the centre of town on Arlon square since the relocation of B&M to a larger site in the town.

"There is no doubt that shopping habits have changed, companies must rise to a changing market and we the customers should shop local where we can."

Poundland owner Pepco has agreed to buy up to 71 Wilko stores following the collapse of the high street chain.

PwC, administrators for Wilko, said that Pepco has sealed a deal which will see the stores reopened under the Poundland brand.

Workers at the stores will not be transferred directly as part of the move, but Poundland has said it will “prioritise” existing Wilko workers for roles when the shops are opened under the new brand.

Poundland said its new lease agreements are set to be completed in “early autumn”, and it aims to open the stores by the end of 2023.

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