Wilko, the well-known UK discount general merchandise retailer, has recently obtained a much-needed boost of £40 million in funding from restructuring specialist Hilco. This injection of funds comes at a crucial time for the company, as it has been facing financial difficulties and struggling to meet its payment obligations to suppliers. The company has also reported a significant loss, further exacerbating its challenges.

Amidst these financial troubles, Lisa Wilkinson, the chair of Wilko and a member of the controlling family, has made the decision to step down from her position. In her place, Chris Howell, who previously served as the chair of Bensons for Beds, will take over the leadership role. Joining Howell is Mark Jackson, who was appointed as CEO just before Christmas. However, it is worth noting that this marks the third change in CEO for Wilko in the past three years, highlighting the instability the company has been facing.

To bolster its board and bring in a fresh perspective, Wilko has added Natasja Laheij as a non-executive director and chairwoman of the audit and risk committee. Laheij brings with her a wealth of experience, having held senior financial positions at prominent companies such as Amazon and Google.

Wilkinson has emphasized that the company is actively implementing necessary changes to restore confidence and secure its future. This includes ensuring the presence of a strong leadership team with the right expertise to meet customer expectations.

In addition to the funding from Hilco, Wilko has also taken steps to alleviate its debts. It achieved this by selling and leasing back its distribution center in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, for a whopping £48 million. This move was made in anticipation of potential further financing needs in the event of a significant decrease in sales, a scenario the company had warned about in its annual accounts.

The financial figures for the previous year have been rather bleak for Wilko, as it recorded a pre-tax loss of £36.8 million, a stark contrast to the £2.5 million profit it had made the year before. Sales also experienced a decline by nearly 3%, amounting to £1.3 billion. Currently, Wilko employs approximately 16,000 individuals.

With the infusion of funding and the changes in leadership, Wilko is hoping to steer through its financial challenges and ensure a prosperous future for the business.

To learn more about Wilko’s financial situation and their plans for the future, you may find the following sources useful:
– [BBC News – Wilko secures £40m funding lifeline from Hilco](https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58955674)
– [Retail Gazette – Wilko secures £40m funding lifeline amid financial struggles](https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2022/10/wilko-secures-40m-lifeline-amid-financial-struggles/)