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Lisa Wilkinson expresses devastation and apologizes for Wilko collapse as MPs point to ‘weak leadership’ – live coverage

Former Chair of retail company Wilko, Lisa Wilkinson, appeared before MPs to express her devastation and apology over the collapse of the company. The collapse has left taxpayers on the hook for over £40m in redundancy payments, a £50m hole in the pension scheme, and creditors only receiving 4p in the pound.

Wilkinson expressed her gratitude to all who supported Wilko, including the employees, suppliers, advisors, and customers over the company’s 90-year history. She admitted that she is sorry for letting down all those people and that the collapse has left her feeling devastated.

She also admitted to her mistakes as the chair, stating that she should have been more proactive in 2022, brought in a new CEO earlier, and taken the advice of advisors sooner. She further revealed that a loan deal was scuppered by a government mini-budget and that the company had been struggling due to declining revenues, loss of key allies, reduced customer spending, and unclear customer proposition.

However, Wilkinson denied that her greed had led to Wilko’s collapse, and stressed that the company had run out of cash due to various contributing factors. She also revealed that the company’s auditors did not do their job properly in identifying the problems at Wilko, which ultimately led to the collapse.

The collapse of Wilko has left over 12,000 staff without jobs, leaving them facing a Christmas period without work. Critics have pointed out that Wilkinson has never visited a store or distribution center to apologize or explain to staff what went wrong.

Industry experts have stated that Wilko could have survived if it had made different decisions earlier, but the company had failed to adapt to the changing retail landscape. Members of the committee have also criticized the auditing profession, suggesting the need for reforms in the sector.

Overall, the collapse of Wilko has had a significant impact on employees, suppliers, and the retail sector more broadly, and Wilkinson’s appearance before the committee has shed light on the contributing factors to the company’s collapse.

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