DIY store Homebase announced it was set to shut down a quarter of its shops yesterday leaving thousands at risk of losing their jobs.
The company argued it was underperforming in several areas of the country and the shake up would “improve the productivity of its store estate, strengthen its propositions and accelerate digital capabilities.”
But retail workers’ union Usdaw warned that the news would come as a horrible shock to the workers.
The union’s national officer Dave Gill said: “This news will be very worrying for our members in Homebase.
“We are looking for the parent company Home Retail Group to provide opportunities for affected Homebase staff to be redeployed within the group or transferred to new owners of their sites.”
Home Retail did confirm it would endeavour to keep staff and guarantee employment.
“Our colleagues will be the first to be informed about any of the affected stores and where possible we will redeploy colleagues to other stores within the group or encourage retailers buying our leases to offer roles within their businesses,” said a group spokesman.
The first to go was no other than Homebase managing director Paul Loft, who was made to leave on the day.
Homebase said Mr Loft “and the group have agreed that now would be an appropriate time for Paul to step down from his role.”
The announcement came as a surprise to many after Homebase’s half-year results showed sales and profits on the rise.
Home Retail, however, argued that earnings were still behind Homebase’s sister company Argos, which grew by 57 per cent in the same period.