Wilko founder’s granddaughter steps down as chairwoman after homewares retailer secures £40m lifeline
The granddaughter of Wilko’s founder has stepped down as chairman after the company was awarded a £40m lifeline.
The struggling home goods retailer said Lisa Wilkinson, still the majority shareholder, will remain on the board as “director of the family”.
But she will be replaced in the top job by turnaround specialist Chris Howell, who will work alongside new chief executive Mark Jackson to bring the chain back to profit.
Lisa Wilkinson, the granddaughter of the Wilko founder, has stepped down as president of the struggling home goods retailer
Wilko appointed Jackson, the former boss of Bensons for Beds, to jump-start his fortunes.
The reshuffle came after Wilko secured a £40m loan from Homebase owner Hilco.
Wilko is one of the UK’s largest retailers, with over 400 stores and 16,000 employees.
It was built by the Wilkinson family from a single hardware store in Leicester in 1930.
The company warned in November that it could run out of cash without a funding injection by the end of this year.
It came after Wilko suffered a loss of £36.8million in the year to last January as it was hammered by soaring costs and supply chain chaos .
Wilko blamed the disruption, along with a drop in the number of shoppers on the high street, for “not operating to its full potential”.
But he said yesterday the £40million loan from Hilco, which also owns Cath Kidston, will speed up his recovery.
It comes after Wilko secured £48million from the sale-leaseback of its Worksop distribution center to DHL.
Wilkinson, 54, said: “We are making the changes necessary to restore confidence and safeguard the future of the business.”
“It involves making sure we have the right leadership in place, an aligned team with the right expertise to deliver the experience our customers expect from us.”