Staff at Sheffield Homebase stores face uncertain future amid mass closure reports

Homebase in Chesterfield Road, Sheffield. Picture: Google
Homebase in Chesterfield Road, Sheffield. Picture: Google

Staff at two Homebase stores in Sheffield face an uncertain future amid reports that the company is set to close dozens of stores.

The DIY chain is reportedly set to press ahead with a second wave of store closures that could see up to 80 branches shut, putting between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs at risk.

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This will leave staff at stores in Chesterfield Road and Drakehouse Retail Park in Sheffield wondering what their future holds.

This would be the second wave of closures after 17 were already shut down in recent months - including a store in Doncaster.

The business has also axed 303 jobs at its Milton Keynes headquarters.

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Restructuring experts at Alvarez & Marsal are expected to carry out a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) next week – an insolvency procedure used by struggling firms to shut under-performing stores.

The expected store closures follow the sale of the business by its former Australian owner Wesfarmers to Hilco, a retail turnaround specialist, for £1.

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.

The Australian firm reportedly admitted making mistakes, such as underestimating winter demand for items such as heaters, as well as dropping popular kitchen and bathroom ranges.

Prior to the Hilco takeover, Homebase had 250 stores at its peak and 12,000 staff members.

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It was first reported in June that Homebase was exploring further store closures through a CVA.

The retailer would have to secure the support of landlords to carry out the procedure.

A spokesperson for Homebase said the company is "declining to comment at the moment."