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Huddersfield Homebase to close and be replaced by The Range

Thirty-five jobs are at risk with the shock announcement that retailer Homebase is to close its Huddersfield store.

The DIY chain plans to transfer its lease on the store at Great Northern Retail Park to another retailer: The Range.

The move is part of a “renewal plan” by Homebase and Argos owner Home Retail Group which has already seen a number of Homebase stores close.

It is hoped that staff at the Huddersfield Homebase store will be able to get jobs with The Range or relocate to other Homebase or Argos stores in West Yorkshire.

A statement by Homebase said: “Following a period of consultation with colleagues we have announced that the Homebase store in Huddersfield will close with a date yet to be confirmed.

“The store lease is transferring to retailer The Range subject to planning and landlord consents, who will invite all Homebase Huddersfield colleagues for an interview to work in their new store. Where possible, we will also look for opportunities for colleagues at nearby Homebase and Argos stores.”

A spokesman for Homebase said the transfer of the store was expected to be completed later this year.

The move comes just weeks after Home Retail Group trumpeted its first improvement in annual profits for six years when it posted its annual results in May.

The group lifted underlying profits by 27% to £115.4m – mainly reflecting a 12% rise in operating profits to £112.3m at catalogue retailer Argos following increased demand for digital products.

Milton Keynes-based Home Retail Group also reported progress on its “renewal plan” for Homebase, which includes revamping some stores and closing others as rents come up for renewal or break clauses fall due. Thirteen Homebase stores were closed during the 2014 financial year, reducing its store estate to 323.

At the time, group chief executive John Walden said: “This level of store closures was consistent with its plans at the start of the year and, over the next five years, Homebase has around a further 65 store lease renewals or break clauses due.”

He added: “Homebase will continue to examine the opportunity for store closures, relocations or downsizes.”

The Range is billed as a discount retailer in the home improvement sector, selling items including furniture, bedding, garden, DIY, pet products, kitchens and bathrooms.

Originally CDS Superstores, The Range was founded by Plymouth-based entrepreneur Chris Dawson, who started the business in 1980 as an open air market trader before opening his first superstore at Sugar Mill Business Park in the town in 1989.

The Range has 12 stores across Yorkshire and the north-east, including ones at Halifax, Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and York.

At Great Northern Retail Park, it will join tenants including Next, Currys, Carpetright, Sport Direct, Pets at Home, Mothercare, Boots and First Choice Holiday Hypermarket.

In West Yorkshire, Homebase has stores at Bradford, Bingley, Leeds and Wakefield.

Argos has stores at Victoria Lane and Leeds Road Retail Park in Huddersfield.

Source : Henryk Zientek - Huddersfield Daily Examiner

27 June 2014
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