BOURNEMOUTH Town Centre BID is ‘very hopeful of a positive outcome’ regarding ongoing negotiations between Wilko and the unit landlords at Richmond Gardens Shopping Centre.
The homewares retailer announced yesterday, Monday, January 10, that the store faces closure next month unless more favourable terms can be agreed with landlords.
Hoping to avoid what would be a huge blow to the high street, Martin Davies, chairman of the Bournemouth Town Centre BID said: “We have been aware for some months of ongoing negotiations nationally between Wilko and its landlords and as far as we understand, that is the position regarding the store in the Richmond Gardens centre.
“Of course the closure of Wilko would be a blow and whilst rent levels are a matter between landlord and tenant we are very hopeful of a positive outcome.
Mr Davies added: “I think the negotiations apparently ongoing in this case is another really good example of how landlords, tenants, local authorities and partners need to work together to navigate these challenging times for town centres.”
The Bournemouth store is one of 15 across the country that is set to close – Wilko has briefed its 28 team members in Bournemouth of the decision to close the store at the end of its lease in February.
And the CEO of Wilko has confirmed the company will continue to support affected team members by offering them roles at nearby stores.
Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko CEO said: “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.”
The news has been described as ‘another nail in the high street’s coffin by GMB Union.
‘Another nail in the high street’s coffin’
Roger Jenkins, GMB national officer, said: “These closures are devastating 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.