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The GMB Union has warned its members that the majority of Wilko stores will close within a week after a purchase of the discount retailer fell through.

In a meeting with administrators PwC on Wednesday the GMB Union was informed there is no longer any prospect that the majority of the business will be saved.

For staff at the Support Centre and at the Distribution Centres (DCs), this means that redundancies will start over the coming week prior to closures at some point very soon based on progress around any store programme.

For staff in stores it said there remains a possibility that some might be bought, either individually or as part of larger packages.

“However, we must advise that we now expect significant redundancies amongst store staff albeit the timing of this is uncertain,” the union stated.

Media reports suggested buyers remain locked in talks to purchase parcels of Wilko stores, with Sky News saying that Poundland’s owner, Pepco Group, in discussions to acquire roughly 100 stores and B&M European Retail up to 50.

Sky News said there remains “a faint, but receding, possibility” that the deal for the Wilko brand the GMB mentioned could yet be salvaged.

However, it is expected 200 stores could now shut at the cost of around 6,000 jobs.

Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary, commented: “GMB Union will continue to support our members through this process and will fight to ensure they are consulted as per the law and receive every penny they are entitled to.

“We will fight to ensure people are held accountable for this situation for the simple reason our members deserve so much better.

“GMB will not forget the incompetence that has led to this collapse and will we not forget the dividends paid to the millionaires who gambled workers jobs on their whims. “

It is expected PwC may issue an update on the process as early as today.

Morning update

Asda has today announced price cuts on 425 branded and own-label products as part of its continued support for families impacted by the cost of living crisis.

The supermarket is investing £23m to lower prices by an average of 11% on some of the most popular products bought by customers each week, including nappies, infant follow on milk, bread, cheese, cereals, pasta, fish fingers, sausages and chicken breasts.

These reductions follow a £13m investment last month to cut prices on more than 200 own-label products by an average of 9%.

Asda said it is stepping up its support for customers as its latest Income Tracker shows that family budgets remain under pressure from rising living costs. Despite the CPI inflation rate easing last month, family disposable incomes remain much lower than before the cost-of-living crisis – down by over £100 per month for the average household compared to July 2021.

Kris Comerford, Asda’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “While the headline inflation rate may have eased slightly last month, our own data tells us that many customers are continuing to struggle with rising living costs. We have targeted this latest price investment on the products that our customers buy week-in and week-out, to help their shopping budgets stretch further.

“We’re also continuing to work closely with our suppliers and whenever there is an opportunity to pass on commodity price savings to customers we will do so.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up another 0.4% to 7,350.4pts.

Early risers include Naked Wines, up 7.8% to 64.7p, THG, up 2.3% to 90.5p and Bakkavor, up 2% to 102.5p.

Fallers include PayPoint, up 1.2% to 527.5p, Hotel Chocolat, up 0.9% to 103.1p and Nichols, up 0.3% to 990p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 finished yesterday up 0.7% to 7,320.5pts.

Risers included Kerry Group, up 5.3% to 85.7p, Just Eat, up 2.9% to 1,100p, PZ Cussons, up 2.7% to 158p, Wynnstay, up 2.5% to 415p, THG, up 2.5% to 88.5p, Ocado Group, up 2.4% to 737.6p and Bakkavor, up 2.1% to 100.5p.

The day’s fallers included Naked Wines, down 9.8% to 60p, PayPoint, down 1.7% to 534p, Marks & Spencer, down 1.1% to 215.4p and McBride, down 1% to 38.8p.