3,900 jobs at risk in shake-up at retailer Wilko


Nearly 4,000 jobs are at risk at discount chain Wilko as it faces a “challenging retail landscape”.

The store said it was talking to 3,900 store supervisors about a new store management structure, Sky reports.

However, it hopes to redeploy some of the workers in other positions as it introduces 1,000 new senior supervisor roles and a “significant amount” of customer service positions.

Wilko, which has 400 stores and employs 20,000 people, said it was “introducing a new simplified retail team structure… to ensure it can operate successfully and competitively”.

Retail director Anthony Houghton said: “Despite the challenging retail landscape Wilko has seen both positive customer numbers and like-for-like sales growth this year.

“This is not translating into positive results despite all the hard work to reduce costs, grow own-brand and digital sales.

“Following independent studies we identified a legacy of retail structures that created complexity to manage which aren’t simple, fair or transparent for our team members.

“The simpler, newly defined store structure will give teams greater variety within their roles and result in more team hours on the shop floor, delivering a better customer experience.”

He said the company was working with the GMB trade union.

Wilko said the announcement would not affect its commitment to the growth of the business, including new stores.

The move comes after Wilko reported an 80 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £5.1m for the year to 28 January, pointing to political economic uncertainty, the collapse in sterling and the introduction of the national living wage.

Retailers are being squeezed by a rise in costs thanks to the plunge in the pound since the Brexit vote.

That has pushed up the cost of the goods they import while at the same time the firms are under pressure to keep down prices for their customers amid stiff competition.