Shoppers ‘miss’ city’s only Wilko after shock closure last year

Wilko was located at the Templars Square shopping centre in Cowley but permanently closed its doors in September of 2023.

The store was the only Wilko in the Oxford area with the nearest shop being based in Didcot and it remains a big miss for the city’s shoppers.

Douglas Bennett is from Cowley and used to work for Morris Motors but he used Wilko at Templars Square regularly after retiring. 

Oxford Mail: Empty shelves at the Templars Square Wilko before it closed.Empty shelves at the Templars Square Wilko before it closed. (Image: Newsquest)

“I miss Wilko as there aren’t many stores that sell what they sold,” said the 90-year-old.

“This place is very convenient to get to as a pensioner as you can get a bus here but other places aren’t as well connected.

“I try to come to Templars Square once a week as I also pop to Wetherspoons as the beer is cheap.”

Layla Bourton from Littlemore also spoke of how she missed the shop, having often popped in when it was still at the Cowley retail centre.

Oxford Mail: Shoppers miss the store due to the specific products that it sold.Shoppers miss the store due to the specific products that it sold. (Image: Newsquest)

“I come to Templars Square a couple of times a month and I miss Wilko as I used to use it for beauty products and the Pick n Mix was always good,” she said.

“It would be nice to see something there that would be similar to what it was as it was a very unique and if you needed something specific it was the one-stop sort of place to go.

“I was sad when it closed as I would always have a visit when I came here.”

One customer from Wheatley, who wished to remain anonymous, visits the shopping centre every fortnight but nothing has filled the void that Wilko left in her opinion. 

“I liked it for the home section, especially the bathroom and kitchenware,” she said.

Oxford Mail: Wilko was at Templars Square in Cowley.Wilko was at Templars Square in Cowley. (Image: Newsquest)

“I don’t think any of the shops around here or on the high street are comparable to Wilko.

“The transport takes so long to get to the city centre. I try to avoid it if I can given how poor the traffic is.”

The empty store currently remains at Templars Square with the brand’s logo still plastered above the former shop entrance.

It is unknown yet what the future of the Cowley unit is with no new suitors moving in the last five months despite the high footfall at the shopping centre.

Fellow high street brand The Range bought Wilko’s brand, website and intellectual property in September of last year but it is unknown what the next step is now that the stores have closed.

Latest news
Related news