Scores of Wigan jobs at risk amid collapse fears of convenience store chain McColl's

Fears are growing for the livelihoods of scores of Wigan shopworkers as the convenience store chain McColl’s teeters on the brink of administration.

By Charles Graham
Friday, 6th May 2022, 9:04 am

The retailer has been in discussions with potential lenders to shore up the business, which struggled badly during the pandemic due to supply chain issues, inflation and a heavy debt burden.

It said that unless those talks are successful, it is “increasingly likely that the group would be placed into administration”.

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The McColl's branch next to Wigan Wallgate Station

This could happen, it said, as soon as Friday May 6.

The company has 11 outlets in Wigan borough, some of which it only bought from the Co-op six years ago.

They are to be found at:

Wallgate, Wigan

Marsh Green, Marsh Green

Norley Hall Avenue, Norley

Clapgate Lane, Goose Green

Wigan Road, Bryn

Warrington Road, Ince

Atherton Road, Hindley

Atherton Road, Hindley Green

Car Bank Street, Atherton

The Centre, Higher Folds, Leigh

Newton Road, Lowton.

The business has some 16,000 employees, the majority of whom are part-time, a spokesman said.

In a statement in which it described itself as “the UK’s leading community retailer”, a representative said: “As previously disclosed on April 25 2022, the group remains in discussions regarding potential financing solutions for the business to resolve short-term funding issues and create a stable platform for the business going forward.

“However, whilst no decision has yet been made, McColl’s confirms that unless an alternative solution can be agreed in the short term, it is increasingly likely that the group would be placed into administration with the objective of achieving a sale of the group to a third-party purchaser and securing the interests of creditors and employees.

“Even if a successful outcome is achieved, it is likely to result in little or no value being attributed to the group’s ordinary shares.”

The chain was founded in Glasgow in 1901 and, according to its website, it serves five million customers a week.

But earlier this week, the listed company warned that its shares would be suspended because it was unable to meet the deadline for filing its annual results.

Sky News reported that Morrisons, one of Britain's biggest supermarkets, had proposed a deal to McColl's lenders, which involved the supermarket injecting funding.

Morrisons has declined to comment.