Homebase owner to close stores putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk

Homebase owner to close stores putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk

It is being reported that up to 80 Homebase outlets are to be closed, with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.

It is unclear if any of its 11 Irish stores will be affected by the DIY chain's plan.

Hilco Capital, who bought Homebase for £1 earlier this year, is expected to reveal more details next week.

It is believed that the store closures will be implemented by a controversial insolvency mechanism called a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which has already been deployed by other high-street retailers in the UK like Carpetright, Mothercare and New Look.

Homebase have almost 250 stores in Ireland and the UK employing just over 11,000 people.

Homebase would have to secure the support of landlords to carry out a CVA.

But the property industry has expressed consternation at the procedure, saying it leaves them out-of-pocket.

The latest restructuring would come on top of a store closure programme the retailer has been carrying out since February.

A total of 17 Homebase stores have been shut this year and the business has also axed 303 jobs at its head office in Milton Keynes.

The store closures follow the sale of the business by its former Australian owner Wesfarmers to Hilco, a retail turnaround specialist, for £1.

Homebase was bought by Wesfarmers for £340m (€380m) in 2016.

Wesfarmers is known for its Bunnings chain in Australia, and attempted to import the home improvement brand to the UK by converting a host of Homebase stores into the Bunnings format.

However, the fast pace of the transition gave Wesfarmers little time to introduce the Bunnings brand, which is highly successful in Australia, to UK consumers.

Prior to the Hilco takeover, Homebase had 250 stores at its peak and 12,000 staff.

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