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Some of UK retailer Wilko's stores set to close after no buyer found

FILE PHOTO: A branch of the discount retail homeware store Wilko is seen in London

LONDON (Reuters) -Some of British homeware and household goods discount retailer Wilko's stores are likely to close after a buyer could not be found for the whole group, administrator PWC said on Wednesday.

PWC said that contrary to an earlier statement from the GMB trade union, there were no plans to close stores next week and they would continue to remain open and trade "in the immediate term".

"While discussions continue with those interested in buying parts of the business, it's clear that the nature of this interest is not focused on the whole group," the administrators said in a statement.

"Sadly, it is therefore likely that there will be redundancies and store closures in the future and it has today been necessary to update employee representatives."

The family-owned retailer said earlier this month it had fallen into administration, putting its 400 stores and 12,500 jobs in danger if a buyer could not be found.

Earlier GMB said it had been informed there was "no longer any prospect that the majority of the business will be saved" and this meant redundancies would begin in the coming week, with "significant" job losses expected.

Sky News reported the owner of fellow discount store Poundland, Pepco Group, was in discussions to acquire round 100 Wilko stores, while London-listed discount chain B&M European Retail could take on 40-50 shops.

Wilko, which sells everything from hardware goods to cleaning products, toys and gardening equipment, has an annual turnover of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.53 billion).

It started in 1930 as a single hardware store in Leicester, central England, but fell victim to Britain's tougher economic environment and cost of living crisis, grappling with high inflation and 14 consecutive interest rate rises since December 2021.

($1 = 0.7862 pounds)

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by David Evans)