Wilko staff post wacky TikTok videos – with one group filming themselves doing the Oops Up Side Your Head routine in a warehouse – while troubled retailer goes under
Wilko staff are posting wacky videos to TikTok as they bid farewell to the troubled retailer as its stores close their doors for good.
A group of warehouse workers commemorated their final shifts together by taking to the floor and performing the Oops Upside Your Head dance routine.
Staff have made clear they won’t go quietly – with workers singing and clapping as they followed a conga line out of the warehouse in what appeared to be their attempt at a cheerful goodbye.
Others have posted solemn clips showing off empty warehouses and nearly barren stores shelves, with one worker even wiping her eyes to demonstrate the ‘great sadness’ she feels over her store closing down.
The farewell videos came flooding in as Poundland today announced it will buy 71 Wilko stores, following the lead of B&M that snapped up 52 others, saving the jobs of hundreds and employees up and down the country.
One video, captioned ‘the giant slowly being put to sleep’, showed a gargantuan Wilko warehouse sitting empty after its stock was cleared out as The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens played.
Another video, which showed a group of female warehouse workers dancing and singing as they exited the facility, was captioned: ‘Sad to see the loss of jobs.’
TikToker @lissy_72, whose store closed today, revealed posted a message to shoppers saying it was with ‘great sadness’ that they shut their doors.
‘A work family torn apart,’ the post read. ‘We thank all of our customers for the support you have given us.
Both staff and customers alike are saddened by the closure of the retailer. Shoppers who flocked to Wilko today said they were ‘really sad’ about the closures. Some even compared Wilko’s fate to that of Woolworths following the financial crash.
Wilko fell into administration last month having failed to secure emergency funding to get through a slowdown in trading.
Its administrators PwC said yesterday that all Wilko stores are due to close next month as a buyer could not be found in time and put the job losses from the shutdown at 9,100.
Today discount retailer Poundland announced it would buy up to 71 Wilko stores and convert the collapsed homeware and household goods chain’s sites into its own brand.
Poundland, which is owned by Warsaw-listed Pepco and has 800 stores in Britain, plans to offer roles to Wilko workers and expects the rebranded stores to open in the fourth quarter of 2023, it added.
PwC, administrators for Wilko, said Pepco has sealed a deal which will see the stores reopened under the Poundland brand.
Workers at the stores will not be transferred directly as part of the move, but Poundland has said it will ‘prioritise’ existing Wilko workers for roles when the shops are opened under the new brand.
Poundland said its new lease agreements are set to be completed in ‘early autumn’, and it aims to open the stores by the end of 2023.
Managing director Barry Williams said: ‘In the coming weeks we will work quickly with landlords so we can open these stores as Poundland’s with the new ranges that have been pivotal to our recent development.
‘Once that process is complete, we will ensure a significant number of the Wilko colleagues will join our Poundland team.
‘We recognise the last few weeks have been difficult for them and we will move quickly to secure new consents from landlords so we can offer them the certainty they deserve.’
It comes a day after administrators confirmed all Wilko’s remaining shop, warehouse and support centre workers are set to lose their jobs after failing to secure a rescue deal.
Family-owned Wilko employed 12,500 staff and ran 400 shops before it hired administrators early last month after it came under pressure from weak consumer spending and debts to suppliers.
Administrators had previously struck a deal for fellow discount chain B&M to buy 51 other Wilko stores.
PwC said around 3,200 Wilko staff currently work across the sites acquired by B&M and Pepco.
Edward Williams, joint administrator, said: ‘Alongside the previously announced agreement with B&M, we’re confident this sale will create a platform for future employment opportunities for people including current Wilko team members at up to 122 locations.
‘We will continue to engage with other retailers around any interest in other Wilko sites and are confident of completing a sale of the brand and intellectual property within the coming days.’
The announcement comes on the final day of trading for 24 Wilko stores, in the first phase of the chain’s mass closures. A further 28 shops will shut after trading on Thursday.
These closures will result in 1,016 redundancies, while administrators have also announced hundreds of other job cuts impacting warehouse and support centre staff.
A further 124 shops will shut for good next week as the process continues, with the final 222 stores all due to close by early October.
PwC said the firm’s warehouse will shut on Friday, with final support centre workers leaving in early October as operations completely unwind.