Job losses are expected at retail firm Wilko and a number of its stores will close after it failed to find a buyer for the whole business, administrators have said. 

However it is possible that a few stores could still be bought.

Earlier this month the homeware retailer announced it was going into administration, putting 12,500 jobs and its Norfolk stores at risk

Last week a huge administration sale was launched at Norwich's Wilko store

There were claims that stores could close as soon as next week. 

However, administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said claims the stricken retailer would close stores that soon were “speculation”.

The GMB union issued another statement later on Wednesday evening saying closures would occur “within weeks” rather than “within a week”.

Administrators from PwC then sought offers from potentially interested firms in an effort to save jobs and stores.

The union said on Wednesday it was told in a meeting that “there is no longer any prospect that the majority of the business will be saved”.

As a result, it said there are expected to be redundancies affecting staff in stores and call centres.

Rivals Poundland, B&M, The Range and Home Bargains were reportedly among the firms interested in parts of the Wilko business.

In a statement, the joint administrators of Wilko denied the claims and said: “In the immediate term, all stores remain open, continue to trade and staff continue to be paid.

“Contrary to speculation, there are currently no plans to close any stores next week.”

The statement from Jane Steer, Zelf Hussain and Edward Williams of PwC, joint administrators of Wilkinson Hardware Stores Ltd, Wilko Ltd and Ltd, continued: “Since our appointment as administrators of Wilko, we have held extensive discussions with parties who expressed an interest in buying all or part of the business.

“While discussions continue with those interested in buying parts of the business, it’s clear that the nature of this interest is not focused on the whole group.

“Sadly, it is therefore likely that there will be redundancies and store closures in the future, and it has today been necessary to update employee representatives.

“We know this will further add to the uncertainty felt by workers.

“We will be supporting staff through this deeply unsettling time, working closely with the government, JobCentre plus, unions and large employers to maximise possibilities for a rapid return to work for employees in the event of redundancies.”