‘Wilko’s demise doesn’t mean the death of the high street’

Wilko sign outside Sunderland store

The collapse into administration of Wilko has been seen as symbolic of an ongoing ‘death of the high street’ as the town centres in which it mainly operates face the prospect of yet more shuttered stores – some in places where former Debenhams or Topshop stores may still stand empty since they toppled.

Such fears have been heightened by the lack of any bidder for Wilko in its entirety. Administrator PwC said it is “therefore likely that there will be redundancies and store closures”. However, at the time of writing, it has emerged that there has been a surprise bid from HMV tycoon Doug Putman, who would take about 200 stores and continue to trade under the Wilko name.

Barring such an outcome, the collapse of Wilko is terrible news for Wilko employees and for towns where the retailer’s presence will be desperately missed. It does not mean, though, that high streets in general are doomed.

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