Homebase reportedly set to close 60 stores in further blow to UK retail
Hilco Capital, the new owner of British home-improvement retailer Homebase, will next week detail plans to close around a quarter of its stores, threatening over 1,000 jobs, according to a Sky News report.
Sky News said Hilco, which acquired Homebase from Australian group Wesfarmers for a nominal £1 in May, was expected to outline proposals for a so-called company voluntary arrangement (CVA) restructuring that would close roughly 60 of Homebase's 249 stores. It's unclear whether the company's 11 stores in the Republic of Ireland will be affected. Homebase also has a number of stores in Northern Ireland.
A spokeswoman for Hilco declined to comment on the report.
A string of British store groups have either gone out of business or announced plans to close shops this year, as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher business property taxes and growing online competition.
CVAs, which allow firms to avoid insolvency or administration, have been adopted by retailers including fashion chain New Look, floor coverings group Carpetright and mother-and-baby goods firm Mothercare.
Hilco specialises in distressed or under-performing assets. It bought and ultimately closed Xtra-Vision in Ireland, as well as the HMV stores in the Republic of Ireland - leaving a store in Belfast open. Other companies it has invested in include ceramics company Denby, flooring product manufacturer Kraus Group, and travel clothing company Tilley Endurables. (Reuters)