Tuesday, January 11, 2022

News: Wilko, over and out

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Wilko, the value general merchandise retailer, has announced plans to close 15 stores this year, including one in Rotherham.

The Worksop-based High Street chain confirmed that it had briefed its team members in Rotherham town centre of the decision to close the store because favourable lease terms cannot be agreed with the landlord.

The soon-to-be-vacated Corporation Street store is adjacent to the Forge Island regeneration site, where a mixed-use scheme anchored by Arc Cinema and a Travelodge hotel is being built.

A spokesperson said; “We have been looking at our options, but the reality is that we have been unable to reach an agreement with the landlord that makes this store commercially viable."

Rothbiz revealed in 2014 that wilko was set to take the large unit that was vacated by electrical retailer, Comet at Parkgate Shopping.

At the time, an agreement was reached with Rotherham Council and the retailer that would see the Corporation Street store staying open for at least five years if plans for Parkgate were approved.

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The town centre store is set to close in June 2022. The Parkgate store is unaffected by the latest announcement.

Jerome Saint-Marc, CEO at wilko, 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 customers but will continue to offer them everything they need in nearby stores or via wilko.com.”

Roger Jenkins, national officer at the GMB Union, said: "These closures are devasting 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."

Last year, buildings next to wilko on Corporation Street were demolished as part of the Forge Island scheme. On the other side, the Mecca Bingo has closed permanently and proposals to create flats have been unveiled.

Rotherham Council has targeted Corporation Street and sites nearby for investment, eager to build on the catalyst Forge Island scheme which will host an 8-screen boutique style cinema, modern hotel, food and drink outlets and car parking.

Wilko website

Images: Google Maps

6 comments:

Anonymous,  January 11, 2022 at 1:18 PM  

Knock it down-it would make a great site for a pocket park ……..

Graldhunter January 11, 2022 at 1:31 PM  

Ah, yet another nail in Rovrum Town centre's coffin. Soon it will be a "footfall free" town, ripe for more Laybah blue sky dream schemes.

Anonymous,  January 11, 2022 at 1:33 PM  

And the landlord is?????

Anonymous,  January 11, 2022 at 2:24 PM  

Why not knock it down and build Rotherham's version of the Winter Garden in Sheffield, think of the exotic plants we could grow it would kill two birds with one stone because if you leave it you know it will self-combust.

Ziggy,  January 11, 2022 at 2:39 PM  

If only there was another unit big enough to house Wilko which could have favourable rental terms.... take your pick of the empty stores that aren't pop up parks (or a pile of bricks until then).

Anonymous,  January 13, 2022 at 1:22 PM  

The Wilko building was purchased a few years ago for £665,000. Clearly the new owner would have been keen to recover these costs, so perhaps it's unsurprising that high rents have been cited as one of the reasons why Wilko is leaving the town centre.

Personally, I'll be really sorry to see it go, it's a shop I use regularly in my bid to avoid the hell holes that are Meadowhall and Parkgate. But lets be honest: when they opened up at Parkgate, with the prospect of free parking for their customers, a safer shopping environment, no druggies or alkies to have to worry about and all those things that most businesses would expect to take for granted, the writing was on the wall.

I visited the store in Parkgate recently on a Sunday when I couldn't get what I needed in town. I was amazed to see just how busy it was.

The closure is disappointing news, especially from a retailer like Wilko who, based in Worksop must have a clear understanding as to just how catastrophic the loss of retail offer can be to town centres - but put yourself in their shoes. If they receive 100 sales in Rotherham, and 1000 in Parkgate, where would you base your business?

If you want shops in the town centre, use them or lose them.

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