Wilko has fallen into administration after failing to secure a rescue deal but stores will remain open while a buyer is urgently pursued.

Wilko store front

The embattled retailer has appointed PwC as administrator following a week of talks of collapse and potential rescue deals. Around 12,000 jobs are at risk as well as the closure of 400 stores.

Despite strengthening the management team, cost-cutting and axing 400 jobs already, Wilko has been unable to find a deal that works for every party.

PwC confirmed that Wilko will continue to trade without any immediate redundancies as talks with interested parties continue.

If buyers for some or all of the group are not found, redundancies and store closures are likely to occur.

Jane Steer, Zelf Hussain and Edward Williams of PwC have been appointed joint administrators of Wilkinson Hardware Stores Ltd, Wilko Ltd and Wilko.com Ltd.

In an open letter, Wilko chief executive Mark Jackson said the group “left no stone unturned” when it came to saving the business, but that “we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration”.

He mentioned successes in “significant savings” made across its cost base and that the group has accelerated its omnichannel offer to improve the digital customer experience.

“We believe that Wilko has distinct characteristics with over 50% of sales in Wilko brand products (over 10,000), our value, local shopping locations and ever-expanding digital capabilities,” he added.

He said “significant work” has been completed to streamline costs and transform its operations, and “based on annualised cost savings would have delivered the most profitable Wilko ever recorded within 24 months”.

“While we can confirm we had a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business, without the surety of being able to complete the deal within the necessary time frame and given the cash position, we’ve been left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action,” he said.

He concluded: “I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of the directors and the Wilkinson family to thank all of our customers and our hardworking team members across our stores, logistics and support centre who remained loyal to Wilko. It’s been an honour to have worked alongside you all as we fought to realise and to maximise the significant opportunities that existed to re-establish a profitable Wil