1,000 jobs at risk as Homebase closes 60 stores

Irving Hamilton
August 9, 2018

The chain's owner, buyout and turnaround specialist Hilco, is expected to unveil plans to close around one in four of its 249 stores nationwide.

New Look, Carpetright and Mothercare are among the companies to have adopted CVAs this year as the high street struggles with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher business property taxes and growing online competition.

Hilco announced in June it was cutting 300 jobs at a Homebase support centre in Milton Keynes, saying it was part of its efforts to "start rebuilding Homebase's position in the United Kingdom market". In the East of England it has outlets in Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Cromer, Dereham, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Newmarket, Norwich's Hall Road and Sprowston.

Australian retailer Wesfarmers bought Homebase for £340m in February 2016 but then sold the company to restructuring firm Hilco Capital for just £1 earlier this year.

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Hilco took over Homebase from Wesfarmers for a nominal £1 fee in May.

However, Wesfarmers' strategy backfired spectacularly in the last 18 months‎, forcing it to write off more than £500m after it ditched some of Homebase's most popular business lines.

Norwich's Sprowston store was closed earlier this year for a rebrand and refurbishment as a Bunnings Warehouse, reopening in March. It could mean more than a thousand jobs are at risk.

It comes as House of Fraser is searching for funding to prevent the firm collapsing.

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