Wilko Retail Ltd., formerly known as Wilkinson Hardware Stores was founded as Wilkinson Cash Stores in 1930 by James Kemsey Wilkinson. The company has remained a family-owned business since then. Wilko is a British high street chain which sells homewares and household products. Today, they have more than 400 store throughout the United Kingdom and is still plan on opening up more in the coming years. They are not a plc which means they have no shareholders, instead they always put people and their customers before profit.
The very first Wilko store was launched in Leicester and in 1930 and by 1940 they had nine branches in total, their Beaconsfield store can even be seen in the background of the 1945 film Brief Encounter. By the end of the 1980s, they already have around 78 stores and at the time of their founder’s death in 1997, the number has increased to 150. The company’s growth did not stop there as they opened their first Scottish outlet in Castle Douglas in January 2009 and on that same year, subsequent stores were opened in Scotland.
The company is known for taking over redundant former stores instead of building new ones. Some of the stores they acquired were former Kwik Save store in Halesowen and former Marks & Spencer store in Dudley. Their Dudley store became very successful and an expansion to the upper level of the building was completed in just three years after it was first launched, making Wilko one of the country’s fastest growing retailers. Wilkinson was rebranded to Wilko in 2012 after its own brand products were marketed under the Wilko name. By 2014, almost all of theirs had been rebranded.
Wilko’s product range basically focuses on household essentials which includes homewares, DIY, textiles, cleaning products, stationery, health, pet products and confectionery as well as kitchen and bathroom products. A big portion of their range consists of their own brand products sold under the Wilko brand. They also sell seasonal lines like gardening products in the summer and Christmas essentials and every September to January they offer an expanded toys and games range.
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