Thousands of jobs have been put at risk as a major high street store has fallen into administration.

Budget retailer Wilko, which has a store in Watford High Street and in Hemel Hempstead’s The Marlowes Shopping Centre, has failed to secure a rescue deal.

The chain, which runs more than 400 stores across the UK, told its 12,000 staff today (August 10) that it has hired administrators from PwC to oversee the process.

Watford Observer: Wilko in High Street, WatfordWilko in High Street, Watford (Image: Google Street View)

Mark Jackson, chief executive officer of Wilko, said the firm had “a significant level of interest” but was “left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action” after being unable to close a deal within time.

In a letter, Mr Jackson said: “Over the past six months Wilko has been very open that we’ve been considering options to accelerate a turnaround plan given that we needed to make significant changes to the way we operate to restore confidence and stabilise our business.

“We left no stone unturned when it came to preserving this incredible business but must concede that with regret, we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration.

“We’ve all fought hard to keep this incredible business intact but must concede that time has run out and now, we must do what’s best to preserve as many jobs as possible, for as long as is possible, by working with our appointed administrators."