JUST shy of 30 workers in Southend could be left jobless after a popular retailer announced the closure of 400 stores across the country. 

Wilko, in Victoria Centre, Chartwell Square, is on the brink of shutting down for good.

It comes after the firm was handed over to administrators PwC, who announced earlier this week all 400 Wilko stores could close by early October.

The PepCo group, however, has since revealed it could purchased 71 of the stores - but Southend is sadly not one of them.

As a result the store's 28 employees are now facing being left without a job, prompting the city's business bosses to appeal for help. 

A spokesman for the Southend city’s Business Improvement District said: "28 Wilko Southend staff are looking for new work opportunities.

"Do you have openings in your business?

"If so, let us know any details of the role and a contact email so we can help direct staff to apply."

Tony Cox, leader of Southend Council, has now sent his well wishes to the employees impacted by the looming closure.

He said: "My heart goes out to them - it's a very tough time for those concerned.

"For the weeks they have had, the endless speculation or whether they are going to have a job or not.

"I hope that they do find an alternative employment quickly."

Ian Gilbert, Southend councillor for the Victoria ward, echoed the views of Mr Cox.

He added: “Clearly, it is a great shame for them and it is a great shame for us to lose another High Street business.” 

Wilko's problems arose as a result of weak consumer spending and an inability to pay debts owed to suppliers.

Several companies offered rescue deals, with one last-ditch attempt coming from the owner of HMV before it collapsed. 

The GMB Union has since said the failure to secure a deal meant the remaining offers are only likely to purchase a number of Wilko store properties, and are not thought to include their staff. 

PwC has already agreed a roughly £13 million deal to sell roughly 51 stores to rival B&M. 

According to Sky News, fellow discount retailer Poundland is still in talks with the overseer of the administration to attempt to gain about 100 shops. 

Other high street chains including The Range and Home Bargains have also signalled their interest in purchasing the Wilko brand or stores, according to reports. 

Labour’s shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “This is heartbreaking news for staff and their families who have been holding out hope of a deal that would protect their jobs. 

“Sadly, shuttered-up shops have become the norm under the Conservatives who have weakened the foundations of our economy with local high streets paying the price.” 

If you can help Southend's Wilko workers find new jobs email: Hello@SouthendBID.com