Jerome Saint-Marc

Source: Wilko

Jerome Saint-Marc has been Wilko CEO since 2020

Jerome Saint-Marc is standing down as Wilko CEO with immediate effect, as the high street chain gears up for a turnaround.

Former Bensons for Beds CEO Mark Jackson has been appointed Wilko CEO designate.

The family-owned homes and garden retailer said this morning it recognised it had not been performing to its potential against a backdrop of supply chain disruption and high street footfall decline, and was making strategic changes, including accelerating its omni-channel offer.

Wilko recently secured a £48m injection of funds through the sale and leaseback of its Worksop distribution centre to DHL. 

It has been in talks to secure further financing that may be needed in the event trading falls significantly below current levels next year, recently filed accounts at Companies House revealed.

“Our history is steeped in serving customers and communities going back to 1930,” said Wilko family director Lisa Wilkinson. “Our founder JK Wilkinson would expect us to make the right, and sometimes difficult, changes to restore confidence and safeguard the future of the business. 

“That includes making sure we have the right leadership in place, with the right experience and relevant turnaround expertise, to deliver the retail experience our customers are demanding of us today.”

“I would like to offer my thanks to Jerome for his tireless work leading Wilko through some tough trading conditions for retail, including the pandemic and the widespread impact on almost all aspects of our business. We wish him every success in the future.”

Saint-Marc has been Wilko CEO since 2020, when he was promoted from the joint roles of group transformation director and MD of

Wilko said new CEO designate Jackson had successfully delivered a turnaround and transformation process at Bensons for Beds, driving the bed retailer back to profitability.

Bensons for Beds and sister firm Harveys entered administration in 2020, and owner Alteri Investors, which had acquired the brands from Steinhoff the previous year, bought Bensons back in a pre-pack deal. 

Earlier in his career, Jackson was a founding member of the Pep&Co clothing chain, which has concessions in hundreds of Poundland stores. He is also a former UK CEO of Steinhoff, majority owner of Pepco, the parent company of Poundland and Pep&Co. 


Source: Wilko

New Wilko CEO designate Mark Jackson

Wilko made a £36.8m loss before tax in the 12 months to 29 January 2022, down from a profit of £4.4m the previous year, its latest accounts showed.

Total sales fell by £43.2m to £1.32bn, while like-for-likes dipped by 3.1%, with footfall in high street and shopping centre stores, which make up the bulk of the estate, down 30% on pre-Covid levels.

The decline also came amid “severe and widespread disruption to supply chains globally” from quarter two on, following the blocking of the Suez Canal by a container ship in March.

However, enjoyed “moderate growth” against a tough comparative period in 2020, when online sales boomed in lockdowns.

Wilko’s e-commerce push has seen it launch click & collect in over 70 of its 400-plus stores, as well as adding its products to third-party marketplaces including Amazon and eBay, driving year-on-year online sales growth.

Of 15 stores earmarked for closure in January this year, two remained open following negotiations with landlords, the accounts said.