Homebase to cut 1,000 jobs by shutting 80 stores next week

DIY chain with 11 Irish outlets was bought by restructuring experts Hilco in May

Homebase is set to announce the closure of up to 80 stores next week, with the likely loss of about 1,000 jobs.

The loss-making DIY chain, which has 11 Irish outlets, was bought by restructuring experts Hilco in a deal agreed in May.

Hilco is set to file a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a form of insolvency that enables a retailer to exit or alter deals with landlords.

The process is expected to be handled by Alvarez & Marsal, a specialist adviser on corporate insolvencies which advised Toys R Us on a CVA before the toy retailer collapsed earlier this year.

The company has already shut 17 unprofitable stores and confirmed plans to close at least 23 more. Industry insiders said those 23 would now be part of a CVA involving between 60 and 80 stores in total.

Homebase was bought by the owner of HMV for £1 in a deal agreed in May after its previous Australian owner, Wesfarmers, pulled the plug on a “disastrous” venture into the UK.

Wesfarmers, which bought the business for £340 million two years ago, offloaded the entire 250-store Homebase chain, which has a workforce of just over 11,000 people, ditching a plan to convert them to its Bunnings brand.

Since the rescue by Hilco, Homebase has already cut 300 jobs at its Milton Keynes head office and horticultural buying office in Swindon.

A number of stores have also been converted back to the Homebase brand from the Bunnings tag. – Guardian service