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Wilko : reveals plans to shut 16 stores this year in another blow for the High Street putting hundreds of jobs Bio Wiki Facebook Twitter Business

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Wilko plans to close 16 stores this year, the retailer announced today, in a further blow to the High Street that could lead to hundreds of job losses .

The firm said affected stores will close when leasing contracts end and favorable terms cannot be agreed, adding that it will not affect its new store openings or relocation program .

The GMB union said it was “another nail in the High Street coffin” as Wilko admitted that the way people shop is “changing”. The chain has over 400 branches across the UK in total and is investing heavily in online retail .

The firm said affected stores will close when leasing contracts end and favorable terms cannot be agreed, adding that it will not affect its new store openings or relocation program.

Erome Saint-Marc, CEO of Wilko, said: “Our history is built on serving our customers and communities dating back to 1930, but there is no denying that the way people shop with us and where they want to shop with us it is changing.

“As a business, we are evolving and this includes working with owners for more favorable terms, as well as searching for store locations and formats .

‘We will continue to come together to improve our business and secure the future of more than 16,000 team members.

‘We will do our best to support our affected team members, who will be offered the available positions in nearby stores.

‘We apologize to those communities where stores are closing but we will continue to offer them everything they need in nearby stores or via wilko.com

Roger Jenkins, GMB National Official, said: “These closures are devastating for Wilko workers and the communities that use them.

“It’s another nail in the High Street coffin and GMB is asking city councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents.

“Empty streets and shopping malls are of no interest to anyone, and with 400 stores closing a week, this is unavoidable, unless facility costs can be reduced .

“GMB will now meet with Wilko members to discuss our next steps .”

Planned closures include Shipley, Bournemouth and Stockton next month, Scunthorpe in March, Grantham and Redditch in May, Rotherham, Skegness and Sutton Coldfield in June,

Llanelli in August, Merthyr Tydfil in September and Cleethorpes in October. Orpington and Edmonton Green in London will also close.

Wilko said 11 of the stores have an alternate Wilko within five miles.

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