Wilko is planning to close 16 of its stores across the UK this year, the company has announced.
The retailer said the affected stores will close as their leases end and “favourable terms” cannot be agreed.
The closures will not affect any of its new openings or its stores relocation programme, it has been confirmed.
Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko’s chief executive said: “Our history is steeped in serving our customers and communities going back to 1930, but there’s no denying the way people shop with us and where they want to shop with us is changing.
“As a business we’re evolving and this includes working with landlords for more favourable terms, as well as looking at locations and store formats.
“We’ll continue to pull together to make our business better to secure the future of over 16,000 team members.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to support our affected team members who will be offered any available positions in nearby stores.
“We apologise to those communities where stores are closing but will continue to offer them everything they need in nearby stores or via wilko.com.”
Which stores are closing?
The following Wilko stores have been confirmed to close this year:
- The Fort, Birmingham
- Sutton Coldfield
- Merthyr Tydfil
Orpington and Edmonton Green in London will also be closed, although dates have not been confirmed.
The retailer said 11 of the stores have an alternative Wilko within five miles.
‘Another nail in the coffin’
The GMB union said the closures mark “another nail in the High Street’s coffin”, and warned that hundreds of jobs could be lost as a result.
The union has now called on landlords to review commercial leases and to offer more affordable rent prices.
Roger Jenkins, GMB national officer, said: “These closures are devastating for Wilko workers and the communities who use them.
“It’s yet another nail in the High Street’s coffin and GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents.
“Empty high streets and shopping centres are in no one’s interest and with 400 shops a week closing, this is inevitable, unless the costs of premises can be reduced.
“GMB will now meet with Wilko members to discuss our next steps.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.