Bidders looking to take over crisis-hit retailer Wilko have just days to make an offer.

The store, which has a branch on Bolton’s Deansgate in the town centre, announced just last week it was going into administration, putting branches across the country and thousands of jobs at risk.

Now, the PA news agency understands that administrators have set a deadline on Wednesday to save jobs and branches.

Last week, Wilko CEO Mark Jackson said: “Over the past six months we’ve been open with all our stakeholders including our team members that we’ve been considering options to accelerate a turnaround plan given that we needed to make significant changes to the way we operate to restore confidence and stabilise our business

“We left no stone unturned when it came to preserving this incredible business but must concede that with regret, we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration.”

The company runs another branch at Bolton’s Middlebrook retail park, which is also one of 400 around the country now at risk along with around 12,500 jobs.

Mr Jackson said: “I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of the directors and the Wilkinson family to thank all of our customers and our hardworking team members across our stores, logistics and support centre who remained loyal to Wilko. 

“It’s been an honour to have worked alongside you all as we fought to realise and to maximise the significant opportunities that existed to re-establish a profitable Wilko.”

The news that the branch on Deansgate could be closing was met with dismay from town shoppers, while Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said she was most concerned about staff who had been left in a “perilous situation.”

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But the PWC administrators still hope they can strike a deal to save jobs by the Wednesday deadline.

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 that 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.