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Management buy-out secures future of Wilkies mini-chain

Scottish womenswear mini-chain Wilkies has been sold in a management buy-out that secures the future of its ten stores and 100 staff.

Karen Forret, the company’s operations and buying director, has acquired the business from Douglas Wilkies, the sole shareholder in the business and great grandson of the chain’s founder. It has a turnover of £6m.

The 114-year-old business, which also sells shoes, accessories and homewares, has stores in Edinburgh, North Berwick, Falkirk, Helensburgh, Kirkcaldy, Peebles, Gaslashiels, Largs, Stirling and Dundee. It stocks brands including Eastex, Dash, Jacques Vert and Gerry Weber plus its own label collection.

Wilkie said: “Retail is all about change and over the 22 years I have spent in the business the company has changed in many ways whilst retaining our passion for delivering outstanding customer service and great product to communities throughout Scotland.”

He added that he was “proud” to be handing the business on to Forret, who joined the business as an assistant window dresser when she was 16 years old. She has since held “almost every role” in the company but also gained a marketing degree.

Forret said: “This is another new challenge within a business I have lived and breathed for 16 years. A challenge I am delighted to be facing with a great team behind me. I am honoured to be continuing on the Wilkies brand name and heritage for many years to come.”

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