HEREFORD'S Wilko shop in the Maylord shopping centre will close by early next month, it has been reported.

The GMB Union said that administrator PwC had said that all Wilko stores will close by early October.

Both of Wilko’s warehouses, called distribution centres (DCs) will close this Friday. A second round of store closures will be announced on Tuesday, it said. These 124 sites will close between September 19 and September 21.

Empty shelves have been seen at Hereford's Maylord branch after a sale was launched to clear stock last month.

The shop currently takes up a large portion of the city shopping centre, which has been mooted as a potential site for the city's library to move to.

GMB said: “Staff will be asked to work two extra days after the store have closed. Likewise, a small number will be required to stay on at the DCs for up to 14 days to assist with the decommissioning.”

The GMB Union has said that the hopes of a deal which could have saved hundreds of stores and thousands of jobs have collapsed.

“We are incredibly sorry to have to share the devastating news that (administrators) PwC have confirmed the previous offer being explored for the sale of hundreds of stores as a going concern has fallen through,” the union said.

“There is now no prospect of saving the remaining store estate in its entirety and all Wilko stores will close by early October with DCs (distribution centres) to close on Friday September 15.”

It added: “Although separate bids may be made for leases of groups of sites, these deals will not secure jobs, although the option to take up new employment with the bidders for these sites is something we are now pushing for.

“This is not the news our members or the GMB had been hoping for or working towards.

“We share the sorrow and anger of every Wilko team member today.”

The GMB union said redundancy was “now likely” for all 12,500 workers at Wilko.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “Wilko was far more than a brand, a retailer or the products it sold, it was the thousands of loyal team members now facing an uncertain future.”

She added: “This isn’t a tragedy without cause. Wilko should have thrived in a bargain retail sector that is otherwise strong, but it was run into the ground by the business owners.

“Money was siphoned out of the business for dividends, warnings about what needed to be done to save the business were not heeded and advice around what the business to do to thrive was not listened to.

“No worker caused the downfall of Wilko. But they will be the ones who will suffer – all as the owners get off scot-free.

“GMB will not stop campaigning for the owners of this debacle to be held to account.”