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Sale of Wilko generates family £63m

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Half of the family behind the value retailer Wilkinson have pocketed £63m by selling out of the chain.

After 85 years of running the company together, the Wilkinson family split last year and Karin Swann, the founder’s granddaughter and joint chairman, left the board.

According to The Telegraph, Swann’s side of the family collected £63m from selling their holding in the company to the rest of the family, which is led by Lisa Wilkinson -now sole chairman.

Wilkinson, now known as Wilko, is one the biggest private companies in Britain and trades from nearly 400 stores.

The departure of half the family is salient for Wilkinson, which was founded in 1930 when James Kemsey Wilkinson and his fiancée opened the first store in Leicester.

Accounts at Companies House show the sale of the stake was conducted through a demerger of a group company called Castlegate PropCo Limited into the ownership of Ms Swann’s side of the family.

This entity was demerged with £39.5m in cash and 12 freehold properties valued at £23.5m, properties occupied by Wilko store.

Wilko has been hurt by the rise of discount rivals such as B&M and Poundland, and has admitted it is losing market share.

The latest accounts show that sales fell by 1.2%, to £1.4bn in the year to Jan 31, sending pre-tax profits down from £27.6m to £5.5m. Wilkinson said she was “very disappointed” by the performance, which came despite the launch of a new advertising campaign.

The company has postponed further television advertising until late this year and has also axed jobs in a response to falling sales.

Published on Monday 06 July by Veebs Sabharwal

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