All 400 of Wilko's stores will close by early October, but what does the future hold for the units occupied by the retailer in Hitchin and Letchworth?

Wilko fell into administration in August due to financial losses and competition from other discount chains, and despite Doug Putman, the billionaire owner of music retailer HMV, launching a rescue bid, the deal fell through.

On Monday, administrators PwC said that "despite extensive efforts" it had become clear that "no significant part of the Wilko operations can be rescued".

Letchworth's store will be among the first to go, closing its doors for the final time on Sunday, with Letchworth BID manager Richard Harbon describing it as a "sad day" for the town.

"Wilko has been in Letchworth for a very long time and has been, not only a big supporter of Letchworth Garden City, but also a provider of employment for a wide cross section of the Letchworth community," he told The Comet. 

"They have also been a very popular destination for shoppers adding to the vibrancy of the town. It is a sad day for the town and the many people who are employed there. The BID will do everything it can to support the next steps."

Richard accepted that the wide shop in Eastcheap will be "challenging to fill", but he is confident it will be taken over quickly.

"The partnership working between the agencies and organisations, including landlords, is good in Letchworth," he said.

"I have no doubt that we will pull together to do our best to fill this soon to be empty unit.

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"Also, Letchworth is still a very popular place to open shops with the landlords being regularly approached, for example, Energie Fitness, Eats and the Garden Shed. The challenge will be the right business in this key location."

Over in Hitchin, a store closure date has yet to be announced, but it has now been announced that Poundland will take over the unit.

"It is very sad to see another national chain disappear from the UK high street," said town centre manager Tom Hardy.

"Wilko in Hitchin has played an important part in serving local residents over the years.

"Unfortunately, with the rise in competing budget stores and the increased ease of online micro purchases, this collapse has not come as a surprise.

"Although Hitchin has one of lowest vacancy rates in the South East at 1.9 per cent, we are not immune to the national evolution of the British high street.

"We have seen a churn in recent months with businesses closing, relocating and new ones opening. It’s positive to see that national chains and independent businesses are still seeing our town as a viable place to do businesses.

"Wilko is no doubt a blow to the towns offer, but I am confident that Hitchin will continue to welcome new businesses and remain an exciting place for the public to enjoy. "