STAFF face an anxious wait over the future of their jobs after DIY giant B&Q announced it will close 60 stores in the UK and Ireland over the next two years.
The firm, which has branches in Sunderland, Washington, South Shields and Hartlepool among its 360 B&Q stores, said it no longer needs as many stores – and that some stores should be smaller.
B&Q’s parent company Kingfisher has so far confirmed the locations of six store closures: Southampton, Dundee, Baums Lane in Mansfield, Station Road in Stetchford in Birmingham, Hyde in Greater Manchester, and Barnsley.
It is not yet know if any of the North East branches will be affected by the closures.
Kingfisher said it plans to open 60 stores under its Screwfix brand.
It also announced a 15.2 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to £644million for 2014.
In a statement, it said: “Kingfisher has said for some time that B&Q UK & Ireland can adequately meet local customer needs from fewer stores and that some of the store should be smaller.
It has also been announced Kevin O’Byrne, chief executive for B&Q UK & Ireland, will leave the firm on 15 May 2015 “allowing a smooth handover of his responsibilities” with further details to be announced “in due course”.
The store closures, which will result in a £350m one-off cost, mark Veronique Laury’s first major move as chief executive. The former Castorama boss took over from Sir Ian Cheshire as chief executive last September.