THE future of Wilko stores in Runcorn and Widnes are ‘up in the air’ after a takeover bid for the retailer fell through.

The firm has two stores in Halton – one at Runcorn Shopping City and another at Widnes Shopping Park.

Hundreds of jobs will be lost in the first tranche of redundancies after a bid for the entirety of the collapsed business failed.

A potential bidder, the only one which planned to protect all 12,500 employees and 400 Wilko sites, missed a deadline set by administrator PwC.

PwC said: “It is now clear that no viable offer structure put forward includes the group in its entirety.”

It added that 269 support centre workers in Worksop and Newport will have their last day with the business on Monday.

There will be further redundancies across the company’s two distribution centres from early next week, it said, with exact numbers yet to be confirmed.

The GMB union said a bidder, reported to be M2 Capital, had not submitted the evidence needed to show it could buy the business.

PwC also said there had been no viable offers for Kin Limited, a subsidiary of the company. Kin has been forced to close, with 14 jobs gone.

The administrator said discussions are continuing with bidders interested in buying parts of the business.

The GMB said: “As a result of this unwelcome development, the redundancy processes which were paused two days ago are set to restart almost instantly.”

It said that it was still trying to save the distribution centres, but that it ‘did not have high hopes’ of doing so.

On Wednesday, the union had told its 3,000 members who work for Wilko that M2 Capital, which was believed to have offered around £90million for the business, had until 5pm to submit the correct paperwork.

M2 was understood to have said that it would retain all the jobs for two years.

GMB said that it is ‘hopeful’ of a viable bid for Wilko’s stores and online business.

It added: “Despite leaving no stone unturned, we simply could not reverse the years of mismanagement under the recent regime and cannot ignore the incompetence which has cost you your jobs.”

Joint administrator Jane Steer of PwC said: “It is with great sadness that we announce these redundancies.

“We are incredibly grateful to these team members for the support and dedication they have shown to the company, particularly over the last few very difficult weeks.

“We will continue to do all that we can to support staff through this period of difficult upheaval, and to maximise their opportunities for a rapid return to work.

“Our priority is to ensure that all team members affected by redundancy are assisted in processing their claims with immediate effect.

“We will be circulating correspondence to all staff as soon as possible which will outline the support available to complete redundancy payment forms.”