British Queen celebrates


Chris Dawson, the billionaire behind The Range, is set to revive the Wilko brand by reopening almost 300 high street chain stores across the UK. The visionary aims to restore the retail giant,

with three branches set to relaunch before this Christmas.

The Wilko branding and intellectual property were procured by CDS Superstores, operating as The Range, for a reported £5 million after the company faced insolvency in August, forcing the closure of over 400 stores and displacing thousands of employees.

The initial trio of Wilko stores is scheduled to reopen in early December: two in Devon, Plymouth, and Exeter, and one in Luton, Bedfordshire. Alex Simpkin, the chief executive, mentioned plans for an additional 50 shops, currently in the pipeline with legal processes underway.

Mr. Simpkin expressed intentions for the grand total of around 300 stores, many in locations previously occupied by Wilko. He also added that the launch of these stores will provide job opportunities and benefit local communities by offering access to essential home and garden products.

The excitement surrounding this revival marks the start of a bigger picture for Wilko's resurgence across the nation's high streets and retail parks, with more store launches and reopenings expected throughout 2024.

Poundland's owners, Pepco, have agreed to acquire 71 Wilko sites, pledging to reopen 64 former stores under the Poundland brand by year-end. B&M had the opportunity to purchase up to 51 ex-Wilko stores.

The move to reinstate the Wilko brand follows recent revelations from former Wilko boss Lisa Wilkinson, who clarified that the chain didn't succumb due to greed but rather ran out of cash before it could be salvaged. She outlined the challenges faced, including negotiating new loan agreements disrupted by market turmoil following a governmental announcement.

This resurgence plan is not just a reopening but a revival of a cherished brand that aims to bring back both employment opportunities and everyday essential products to local communities. Photo by Edward Hands, Wikimedia commons.