Wilko shoppers today came face-to-face empty shelves as they went to grab some last minute bargains with the town centre store offering massive deals on Chrismas, Halloween and other goods.

Huge sale posters are displayed in the windows of the Bolton town centre store, as shoppers continued to go in to see what they could buy - as a bid to buy hundrerds of stores enters its final stages.

The announcement that the store was going into administration came as a huge shock to customers in Bolton  - and nationwide.

The store has an outlet on Deansgate in Bolton and the Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park.

Customers in Bolton said the possible closure of the store marked another step in the decline of the town centre.

Adverts up in the window indicate that there is a 50 per cent off Christmas items, 30 per cent Halloween items, gardening, stationary and 20 per cent off home and DIY items.

One staff member reported that it had been busy in the light of the reduced prices.

Shelves which had emptied including toiletries and DIY.

Shopppers had also stocked up on a large amount of batteries which were 30 per cent off.

However the Christmas shelf still had plenty of items attached.

The Bolton News: An empty section

One customer said: "I just don't understand how the business has come to this, Wilko is one place you can get everything you need.

"Like many people I've come into see what I stock up on. Debenhams, BHS and now possibly Wilko, these store should never have gone under, they were always busy.

"Online shopping is an absolute nightmare with deliveries, I shop online if I cannot find what I want and deliver it to store, so it is just as before, when you would order the item in.

"The only other place I order online is Next, again if my size is not in store, so nothing that we did not do before."

Wilko collapsed into administration earlier in August after managers failed to revive the business through cost savings and a turnaround plan over the past year.

Stores have remained open while the retailer searches for a buyer.

Yesterday it emerged, thousands of jobs could be saved at collapsed retailer Wilko as the owner of HMV finalises a deal to buy hundreds of stores.

A bid to buy the entirety of the business fell through on Thursday, leading to the first wave of redundancies affecting support centre and warehouse staff.

But administrator PwC said that discussions have continued with parties interesting in buying parts of the business.

The Bolton News: The Christmas section

It is understood that Doug Putman, a 39-year-old Canadian businessman who owns music retailer HMV in the UK and Toys R Us in Canada, has emerged as the front-runner for a last-minute rescue deal.

He is understood to be considering acquiring around 300 of Wilko’s 400 stores, which would mean that 8,000 to 9,000 of the current 12,500 staff could have their jobs protected if the deal goes through.

Mr Putman’s retail group Sunrise Records swooped in to buy HMV in 2019, safeguarding nearly 1,500 staff after acquiring 100 stores across the UK.

However, many jobs are still at risk as the future of Wilko hangs in the balance.

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

And there will be further redundancies across the company’s two warehouses from early next week.

Exact numbers have yet to be confirmed but it is thought that around 1,600 people work across the warehouses and support centres.

The Bolton News: The battery section

The GMB union, which has about 3,000 members who work for Wilko, said that a bidder, reported to be M2 Capital, had not submitted the evidence needed by a Wednesday evening deadline to show it could viably buy the business.

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi has said she hoped shopworkers were being supported.

She said: “My biggest concern is for the staff who are now left in a perilous situation.

“If you are a staff member at Wilko, I recommend contacting ACAS, who can provide in-depth advice about your rights and entitlement to support.”