Bidders for crisis-stricken retailer Wilko have been given a strict deadline to make offers to buy the firm.

The historic high street chain fell into administration last week, putting the future of its 400 stores and 12,500 workers in jeopardy.

It is understood that administrators from PwC have set a Wednesday deadline as they quickly seek to strike a deal which could save jobs.

Wilko is continuing to trade and has not announced any redundancies after formally entering insolvency last week.

The retailer’s chief executive Mark Jackson said last Thursday it had received “a significant level of interest” but was “left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action” after being unable to close a solvent sale.

Basingstoke Gazette: Wilko entering administration puts over 400 stores and more than 12,500 jobs at risk across the UK.Wilko entering administration puts over 400 stores and more than 12,500 jobs at risk across the UK. (Image: PA)

The administration process means that bidders are not expected to take on all the company’s liabilities, such as costly debts, as part of any deal.

It is understood Wilko held talks with private equity firms Gordon Brothers, which owns Laura Ashley, and Alteri, which owns Bensons for Beds, as it sought funding to keep it afloat before ultimately entering administration.

It is not clear if either party will enter the latest process to potentially buy the Wilko brand, stores or other assets.

PwC declined to comment.

Are all Wilko stores closing?

Administrators from PwC have been hired to take over the administration process for Wilko

PwC has revealed Jane Steer, Zelf Hussain and Edward Williams will take on the role of joint administrators of Wilko. 

Pwc said initially Wilko will continue to trade all stores without any immediate redundancies as discussions with interested parties continue.

However, added if a buyer for some or all of the group is not found, "it is likely that store closures and redundancies will follow".

Joint administrator, Mr Hussain said: "It is incredibly sad that a well loved, family business that has been on the high street for over 90 years has had to go into administration today.

He added: “Wilko has been a staple of many British high streets for decades. We know that the appointment of Administrators, which comes during an already challenging time for many, will be an unsettling development for everyone involved with the business - particularly its committed team members - and the communities it serves. 

“As Administrators we will continue to engage with parties who may be interested in acquiring all or part of the business.

"Stores will continue to trade as normal for the time being and staff will continue to be paid.”

All locations of Wilko stores at risk of closing

Wilko has 408 stores across the UK (at the time of publication) and all will be at risk of closing if a buyer isn't found.

Wilko stores are located across the UK including in places like London (nine stores), Birmingham (three), Leeds (seven) and Leicester (five).

See the map below for the full list of Wilko stores located across the UK:

If a buyer is not found and these stores are forced to close more than 12,500 jobs will be affected.