Wilkinson (retailer)

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Wilko
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
Founded1930
HeadquartersWorksop, UK
Number of locations372 (2013)
Key peopleKarin Swann (Joint Chairwoman)
Lisa Wilkinson (Joint Chairwoman)
Sean Toal (Chief Operating Officer)[1]
ProductsBasic groceries, consumer goods, DIY, stationery, pets
RevenueDecrease £1,501 million (2014)[2]
Operating incomeIncrease £67 million (2014)
Websitewww.wilko.com
 
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"Wilko" redirects here. For the English rugby player, see Jonny Wilkinson. For the English musician, see Wilko Johnson. For the American racehorse, see Wilko (horse).
Wilko
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
Founded1930
HeadquartersWorksop, UK
Number of locations372 (2013)
Key peopleKarin Swann (Joint Chairwoman)
Lisa Wilkinson (Joint Chairwoman)
Sean Toal (Chief Operating Officer)[1]
ProductsBasic groceries, consumer goods, DIY, stationery, pets
RevenueDecrease £1,501 million (2014)[2]
Operating incomeIncrease £67 million (2014)
Websitewww.wilko.com
A high-street Wilkinson store, using the current logo
A high-street Wilkinson store, using the former logo
The former Wilkinson logo, from 1978-2009
A Wilko battery

Wilkinson or Wilko is a British high-street chain with over 365 stores, selling primarily homewares and household goods.

Founded in 1930 as Wilkinson Cash Stores by James Kemsey Wilkinson, the company has remained largely in the hands of the founding family. When Tony Wilkinson, the son of the founder, retired as chairman after 45 years in 2005, he was replaced by his niece, Karin Swann, and his daughter, Lisa Wilkinson.

Product range[edit]

The Wilkinson product range concentrates on household essentials, including homewares, textiles, DIY, cleaning products, health and beauty lines, stationery, confectionery, pet products and kitchen and bathroom goods. A large proportion of the range is made up of own-label products sold under the Wilko brand.

Seasonal ranges are introduced on a rotational basis, with garden tools and plants in summer and Christmas decorations from September to January. Toys are now a permanent addition to the seasonal line, however, the company does increase the number of toys during the Christmas period.

During 2007 the company introduced a grocery range and a "food to go" offering in some larger stores. In November 2007, the company opened its first convenience style store.

Stores and distribution[edit]

The first Wilkinson store was opened in Leicester in 1930, increasing to a total of nine branches by 1940; the Beaconsfield store can be seen in the background in the 1945 film Brief Encounter. By the end of the 1980s Wilkinson had a total of 78 stores, increasing to over 150 by the time of the founder's death in 1997.[3]

Wilkinson opened their first Scottish outlet in Castle Douglas on 23 January 2009 in a store formerly occupied by The Co-operative Group.[4] Stores were subsequently opened in Scotland that same year in Motherwell on 17 July, in Irvine in November and in Clydebank on 2 December. During 2010, the latest stores planned for Scotland set to open are Hamilton, Kilmarnock, Greenock and Livingston.

By October 2009, Wilkinson had a total of 359 stores nationwide, with stores averaging in excess of 17,000 sq ft (1,600 m2), and employed over 22,000 people. By June 2012 they had 370 stores with further concept stores planned initially in Crawley and if successful leading to a further 3 stores in the pipeline nationwide, with its Castleford store being confirmed to receive this concept rebrand, The expansion plan - originally for 500 stores - has been reduced owing to the problems with the UK economy.

The company has two distribution centres:

D.C.1 & Head Office - Now known as SC1 (Service Centre One)

Called JK House (including a store for current employees only) it is based in Manton Wood, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Construction began in autumn 1993. Ballast Nedam Construction - a Dutch construction company was chosen to construct the steel framed large distribution centre which cost approx £16.5 million to construct. When opened on 12 December 1994, it had the fastest sorting system in the UK. The DC1 is situated just south east of the former Manton Colliery which closed in 1994. The DC1 as of 2012 employs approximately 1,800 employees. The DC1 has its own fuelling station for the company’s fleet of vehicles: Canute Lorries, shunters and other HGV's which operate with in the DC. The DC1 is equipped with several different types of forklift trucks which operate throughout the distribution centre. As of 2013 the DC1 (distribution centre one) site as been renamed to; SC1 (service centre one)

Wilkinson has a trend of taking over redundant former stores rather than building new ones, particularly in the West Midlands; notable examples include the former Kwik Save store in Great Bridge (May 2008),[5] the former Safeway store in Halesowen (early 2007)[6] and the former Marks & Spencer store in Dudley (July 1991). The opening of a store in Dudley was an example of a trend of the retailer to take over large units in town centres left vacant by the relocation of big retail names to out of town locations, as Marks & Spencer had closed its Dudley store during 1990 in favour of a new store at the nearby Merry Hill Shopping Centre. The Dudley store was so successful that a £250,000 expansion to the upper level of the building (initially only the ground floor was used) was completed three years after its opening. By this stage, Wilkinson was one of Britain's fastest growing retailers.[7]

Marketing[edit]

Wilkinson's advertising is concentrated in the press, such as through inserts included with local newspapers. Advertising emphasises value for money, with in-store promotion encouraging customers to purchase more than one item when they visit the store.

A revamped version of the Wilkinson brand was unveiled in 2008. Designed by Jupiter Creative,[8] the brand was showcased in new format stores in Thornaby, Northallerton, (which replaced a former Woolworths store), Sheffield, Leicester, Newton Aycliffe and Walton-on-Thames, as well as the Castle Douglas, Motherwell and Clydebank stores in Scotland. Elements of the new brand have since been phased in more widely, including point-of-sale materials, carrier bags and a relaunched website. Stores in Nottingham and Retford have also recently been converted to the new One Touch format.

Incentives[edit]

Wilkinson has launched a saving stamp scheme across all its stores. Although not an unusual practice in the retail market, it is unique to Wilkinson because it has never launched any kind of loyalty or saving incentives in the past, preferring to concentrate on its 'Everytime' value promise. This is no longer available in Wilkinson stores, as it was replaced with saver cards.

Employees of the company are offered a 13% discount at all Wilkinson stores after four weeks' service, as well as the same discount on products available on web site.

Wilkinson stores donate 1% of their annual profits to charitable causes.

Financial success[edit]

Turnover for the year ending February 2013 was in excess of £1.5 billion.[2]

Year endingTurnover (£m)Trading profit (£m)Operating profit (£m)
1 February 2013[2]1,53027.625.3
2 February 2012[2]1,56523.019.3
28 January 2011[9]1,55957.760.8
29 January 2010[10]1,55665.462.9
31 January 2009[11][10]1,44932.231.6
1 February 2008[12]1,3648850.3
2 February 2007[13][14]1,2468548.4
27 January 2006[15]1,13525.7
1 January 2005[16]1,11654.3
1 January 2004[17]1,04556.5
31 January 2003[18]92244.7
2 February 2002[19]81736.6

Partnerships[edit]

Wilkinson products are also supplied to Manx retailer Shoprite.

References[edit]

External links[edit]