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Redundancies and store closures as Scottish retailer sold out of administration



With its origins dating back to 1898, Wilkies is a family-owned retailer of ladies and men’s fashion and homewares. Headquartered in Edinburgh and employing 95 people, it has been operating from 11 stores in towns across Scotland.

The administrators said the firm faced trading challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“Unfortunately, sales did not recover to pre-pandemic levels in some locations and this, coupled with rising labour and energy costs, led to the Company incurring significant losses”, the administrators said.

In recent months, the directors sought to explore options, including a sale of the business, but a solvent solution was unable to be found. The directors “therefore took the difficult decision to seek the appointment of administrators”.

Immediately following their appointment, the joint administrators sold six of the company’s stores to a new company, Wilkies Trading Limited.

The six stores comprise those in Largs, Castle Douglas, Peebles, Perth, Ballater and Helensburgh. A total of 55 employees have transferred to the purchaser as part of the transaction.

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Five stores were not included as part of the transaction, four of which will close with immediate effect, in Edinburgh, North Berwick, Hamilton and Falkirk. A total of 30 employees have been made redundant as a result of these closures.

The administrators are continuing to trade the Kirkcaldy store for a short period in order to sell stock which was not sold as part of the transaction.

Ten members of staff have been retained by the administrators while the store continues to trade.

Mr Nimmo said: “The high street continues to come under significant pressure, with another retail casualty caused by a combination of customers moving to supermarket and online retail, and cost pressures particularly from labour and energy prices biting.”

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Mr McAlinden said: “Wilkies is a familiar name to many, so we are pleased to have been able to conclude this deal which will see the brand continue to be a part of high streets within Scotland. We’re also pleased to have been able to safeguard 55 jobs as part of the transaction. We wish the new owners every success.”

Karen Forret, managing director of Wilkies Limited, said: “We are proud to keep the Wilkies brand alive and to have saved as many jobs as possible.

“Business rates in Scotland are nearly 75% higher than everywhere else in the UK, but we believe our high streets still have so much to offer, and are vital to our communities and economy.

“We are passionate to continue to drive this great Scottish brand forward and open our doors to customers on the high streets of Largs, Castle Douglas, Peebles, Perth, Ballater and Helensburgh.”

Wilkies Trading has advised it will be accepting credit notes and gift vouchers in their six stores. The option will not be available to customers in the Kircaldy store where the joint administrators will be selling the stock which did not transfer to the purchaser.

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