NEWS
28/06/2018 13:49 BST | Updated 29/06/2018 08:37 BST

Homebase To Cut Over 300 Jobs In Milton Keynes, Ahead Of Possible Store Closures

The company has already shut 17 stores and plans to close around 23 more.

DIY chain Homebase has said it is cutting 303 jobs at its support centre in Milton Keynes.

The DIY chain, which was bought by Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers for £340m in 2016, is being sold to retail restructuring firm Hilco for £1.

As part of the deal, a total of 24 stores that were trading as Bunnings, the Wesfarmers’ brand, will convert back to the Homebase fascia.

The DIY chain has said the job cuts are related to the withdrawal of the Bunnings brand from the UK.

The support centre will now only need staff to serve the Homebase brand.

Damian McGloughlin, Homebase boss, said: “We have not taken this decision lightly, but decisive action is required to start rebuilding Homebase’s position in the UK market.

“We will be providing as much support as we can to help those affected through this difficult time.”

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.

Wesfarmers also fired Homebase’s senior management team, alongside more than 150 middle-managers, soon after its doomed acquisition of the retailer.

Damian McGloughlin, the chief executive of Homebase, told the Guardian: “We have not taken this decision lightly but decisive action is required to start rebuilding Homebase’s position in the UK market. We will be providing as much support as we can to help those affected through this difficult time.”

The job cuts come amid speculation the company is reportedly considering a voluntary arrangement, a form of insolvency, which would allow it to close up to 80 stores.

The company has already shut 17 stores and plans to close around 23 more.