The former chairwoman of Wilko has apologised to thousands of employees who lost their job after the UK retailer went into administration earlier this year. 

Wilko entered administration in August leaving all 400 stores and 12,500 employees at risk. 

Administrators at PwC were forced to sell off Wilko’s assets after failing to secure a rescue deal for the whole business. 

As a result, all Wilko stores were forced to close.

Clydebank Post: Wilko will return to the UK high street in December.Wilko will return to the UK high street in December. (Image: PA)

Other UK retailers including Poundland owners Pepco and B&M have bought former Wilko stores while The Range agreed on a deal to buy Wilko’s brand.

There are also three Wilko stores set to open in December. 

Wilko boss apologies after administration caused loss of more than 12,000 jobs

These retailers, like Poundland, have already begun to re-open former Wilko sites across the UK under their own brand and have been giving preference to former employees affected by the retailer going bust for jobs at these new stores.

Despite this, Wilko entering administration and the closure of 400 stores across the UK still resulted in the loss of more than 12,000 jobs. 

Speaking to MPs on the Business and Trade Committee, Lisa Wilkinson apologised for what had happened to the business and those affected. 

Ms Wilkinson said: "You can have the word sorry, of course I am sorry… I am sorry that we are not there supporting these people anymore.

She added: "I am devastated that we have let each and every one of those people down with the insolvency of Wilko.

“I don’t know how to put into words how sad I am that we have let down all our team members, all our customers, our suppliers, and our advisers.”

Ms Wilkinson said there were a number of reasons Wilko went bust including former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s mini-budget.

She said: "We were about to enter into secured lending arrangements with Macquarie when the 2022 mini-budget happened.

“Literally we were in the midst of that, and at that point the interest terms on that loan were hiked massively and that became infeasible. So, that was a contributor.”

Wilko had been in a “challenging trading position” since 2010 GMB Union reveals

Ms Wilkinson's apology came after the committee heard evidence from the GMB union that Wilko had told it of a “challenging trading position” as early as 2010.

GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said: “We’ve got correspondence between ourselves and Wilko where they identify a challenging trading position from about 2010.

“They identify that the discount retailers are an issue.”

She said that, rather than leaning into that, the company tried to change its business model.

“What you see is a move away from this idea of Wilko as a discount retailer,” Ms Houghton added.

“The internal messaging to our members … was very much this attempt to move very much to almost a John Lewis-type model.”