Homebase in Whitby could close

File picture: Whitby's Homebase
File picture: Whitby's Homebase

Whitby's Homebase store could close as part of nationwide changes which puts 1,500 jobs at risk.

In total, 42 stores are anticipated to close later this year and in early 2019.

The proposed changes will mean redundancies from the stores earmarked for closure which is expected to lead to a reduction of up to 1,500 roles.

Restructuring company Hilco bought the chain for £1 in May from Australia's Wesfarmers.

The company is to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and is seeking approval from creditors on a proposed plan to reduce its cost base in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Damian McGloughlin, CEO of Homebase, said: “Launching a CVA has been a difficult decision and one that we have not taken lightly.

"Homebase has been one of the most recognisable retail brands for almost 40 years, but the reality is we need to continue to take decisive action to address the underperformance of the business and deal with the burden of our cost base, as well as to protect thousands of jobs.

"The CVA is therefore an essential measure for the business to take and will enable us to refocus our operations and rebuild our offer for the years ahead.”

After a comprehensive review, Homebase has concluded that its current store portfolio mix is no longer viable. Rental costs associated with stores are unsustainable and many stores are loss making.

All stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will remain open for business as usual and this process will have no impact on customer purchases, outstanding orders or any product or service guarantees.

The creditors will vote on the CVA on August 31.

Stephanie Pollitt, Assistant Director of Real Estate Policy, British Property Federation, said: “These situations are never easy as property owners need to take into consideration the impact on their investors, including those protecting their investors’ pensioners’ savings, as they vote on the CVA proposal.

"Homebase and Alvarez & Marsal have, however, demonstrated best practice, engaging with the BPF in the process and therefore ensuring property owners’ interests have been properly taken into account.

"Ultimately, it will be for individual property owners to decide how they will vote on the CVA, but the proposal has sought to find a solution that provides a sustainable future for Homebase.”