Wilko Sheffield: Leaving drinks held in-store by staff on last day of trading for collapsed retailer

Staff used the empty shelves to hold their drinks and pizza boxes as they had one last hurrah.

It was a bittersweet mood inside the Wilko in Sheffield city centre today as staff held their own leaving drinks in-store.

With the shelves at the Haymarket branch stripped of anything left to sell, workers used them to hold their drinks and pizza boxes as they had one last hurrah. They signed each other's shirts and sang karaoke as they said goodbye to the retailer some of them had been working at for 20 years.

They opened up at 10am today, said goodbye to the last customers at 1.30pm - then closed up, got the drinks out, and made the best of it.

Manager Dean, who has worked with the retailer for 13 years, told The Star of the camaraderie between staff in the past month after the retailer's collapse was announced last month.

He said: "It's been a sad month. We didn't deserve this.

"We've all been looking after each other. We still hold family values, even if the people in charge of Wilko don't.

"If you want my opinion, we were a value retailer - stack it high, sell it cheap. Great service, great prices. And we moved away from that. they tried to make it John Lewis - but you don't go to Wilko to get a light fitting for £75."

Many staff were clearly emotional, with some saying farewell to the retailer - or even the Haymarket store itself- after working there for more than 20 years.

The shop floor was turned into a dance floor, with Andy's Mobile Karaoke providing a free-of-charge party for the redundant workers.

All that was left in store to sell were some face towels and lids to a type of bin that was no longer available.

When a customer tried to enter at around 3.30pm, a member of staff told them: "Can't let you in, pal. It doesn't exist anymore."

By 4pm, all that was left was for staff to hold a group hug, sing The Beatles' 'Hey Jude' together - then pack up and go home.

Dean said: "This is probably the last time we will all be together, so we decided to enjoy it while we can. It's been a great party.

"We've had some great support in the past month. Lots of us have been given jobs at Poundland or Dunelm or a few others. The council and JobCentre have held presentations in-store about how to get our next job.

"All I can say is good luck to all the 12,500 people who have lost their jobs. We've all been here to the very end."

It is understood retailer The Range will take fixtures away to use in their own stores. But once the keys are handed back to the landlords on October 9, the store will finally stand empty, with nothing lined up to take its place.