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Wilkinson to create 1,000 new jobs

By Graham Hiscott; Clinton Manning - The

Cut-PRICE department store Wilkinson has announced expansion plans creating up to 1,000 jobs after more than doubling profits last year.

The chain proved a recession winner by selling big brand and own-label products at a discount.

Profits surged 120% from £29.4million to £64.9m in the year to the end of January and takings rose 7.4% to £1.5bn.

The 337-strong chain, which is celebrating its 80th birthday, opened 17 stores in the UK.

The Nottinghamshire-based store is planning a similar number of new shops this year, with the South its target, creating hundreds of jobs along the way.

That goes some way to make up for cutting 1,000 posts last year when it rolled out a hi-tech system for ordering stock.

Most were achieved through people leaving naturally but there were also 200 compulsory redundancies.

The company was founded in 1930 by JK Wilkinson in Leicester and is still owned by the family.

His great-grandchildren Karin Swann and Lisa Wilkinson, who are cousins, are directors.

In a joint statement, they said: "Despite the very tough economic climate, we have seen our business continue to develop and grow.

"We know that our customers have appreciated the great deals and good, honest valuefor-money that we offer."

Despite last year's job losses, the company claims it does its best to look after staff, including giving £186,000 of emergency loans last year.

The company also provided subsidised breaks to almost 300 workers at its holiday parks in Devon, Norfolk and East Yorkshire.

120% Rise in Wilkinson profits, year to end of January.

24 June 2010
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