The new parent company of Homebase has announced plans to slash 303 head office jobs in the next two weeks, representing about one third of staff at the Milton Keynes offices.
The news comes a month after Australian retail conglomerate Wesfarmers sold Homebase and the UK operations of its Bunnings fascia to restructuring and turnaround specialist Hilco for £1.
Homebase said it would “restructure operations at its Store Support Centre in Milton Keynes”.
“The changes reflect the need to align the Store Support Centre with the operational and strategic changes that are being implemented,” the DIY and gardening retailer said.
“These necessary changes will ensure that Homebase is better prepared to meet the demands of the UK’s challenging retail environment.
“The Store Support Centre had served both Homebase and Bunnings brands prior to Wesfarmers’ sale of the business. With the withdrawal of the Bunnings brand it was necessary to realign the team to best serve a single, independent brand.
“This process will lead to a reduction of approximately 303 roles, which is equivalent to 38 per cent of the total headcount at the Store Support Centre.”
Homebase chief executive Damian McGloughlin added: “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.”
Wesfarmer’s UK business had been put up for sale earlier this year, just two years after completing a £340 million acquisition of Homebase.
Its disastrous and short-lived attempt to crack the UK market saw them record a loss on the disposal between £200 million to £230 million.
Hilco has closing stores since it acquired the embattled retailer from Wesfarmers, with seven announced internally last week.
Reports also suggest that between 80 and 100 of Homebase’s 150-strong store estate could now face the axe – significantly bigger than Wesfarmers’ original plans to close down between 20 and 40 underperforming stores.
Meanwhile, Bunnings stores in the UK are in the process of being converted back into Homebase stores.