A last-minute deal to save Wilko has fallen through, reports have claimed.

East Lancashire's branches of the high street retailer are among hundreds of branches around the country threatened with closures after the company went into administration in August.

Now a deal which could have saved jobs for the next two years has failed after private equity firm M2 Capital was unable to provide proof of funding for a £90million bid by the deadline of 5pm on Wednesday August 30.

Bolton MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “I have continuing concern about the dragging out of this process.

“The workers I speak to need certainty, as this process has been very draining on them.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Wilko announced it was going into administration earlier in AugustWilko announced it was going into administration earlier in August (Image: Newsquest)

It is understood that administrators PwC, which is overseeing the sale of Wilko, are still in talks with HMV owner Doug Putman about a deal.

Ms Qureshi said: “It is tentatively good news that there is interest from potential buyers but whatever happens, the workers need to be looked after properly.”

But the failure of the M2 Capital bid will come as a bitter blow to workers and customers who had hoped the historic company could still be saved.

Wilko currently has branches in Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley and Nelson which could all be at risk. 

Around 12,500 jobs at more than 400 branches have been put at risk by the administration process.

Job cuts had been suspended while M2 Capital made its bid last week, which included a pledge to retain jobs for the next two years.

But the GMB union, which represents Wilko workers, had warned that if the bidders failed to provide further details by the deadline, then job losses would likely continue the very next day.

A GMB statement on Wednesday said: “Although further details have been requested from the bidder, we have been informed that if these are not received by 5PM then there are no bids on the table that include either the DCS, distribution centres, or the support centre.

“If this is the case, then the redundancies which were paused yesterday are likely to be restarted tomorrow.”