Hartlepool's B&Q to close next January
A planned closure date for B&Q in Hartlepool has been announced for next January.
Store chiefs revealed last autumn that the town’s branch at the Tees Bay retail park was to shut as part of a major restructure by B&Q’s parent company Kingfisher.
The company has not said how many staff work at the store but says it will try to find new jobs for as many as possible.
B&Q previously said in October that the Hartlepool branch was due to close in the 2016-17 financial year but no firm date was given.
A spokesperson has now said: “We can confirm that staff at B&Q Hartlepool have been told their store is set to close in January 2017.
“We will endeavour to find alternative positions for as many staff as possible.”
The company also owns building supplies chain Screwfix. Hartlepool has a branch in Burn Road.
Councillors previously told of their disappointment when the closure was announced.
Seaton ward councillor Paul Thompson said he feared what the knock on effect could be of losing B&Q which has been a flagship store for the retail park for many years.
He said: “People who go to B&Q invariably shop in the other stores there and vice versa. There is the potential for a knock-on.
“It is terrible for the people who are employed there.”
And Coun Kevin Cranney, who is chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said the decision to close was “very disappointing news indeed”.
He said the authority was prepared to work with all parties to do whatever it could to help minimise the impact on workers.
Other businesses at the retail park include The Range, Aldi supermarket, and Home Bargains.
A meeting of Hartlepool council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee in March heard the retail park was thriving.
A new crossing on Brenda Road is to be installed as part of a road safety scheme when the speed limit will be cut from 40mph and 50mph to 30mph.
A total of 60 B&Q stores are set to close all over the country and in Northern Ireland in the next two years.
It follows parent company Kingfisher posting a 7.5% drop in annual profits to £675 million as annual sales fell by 1.4%.
Other towns and cities where branch closures have been announced include Bristol, Southampton, Dundee, Mansfield, and Birmingham.
In more positive retail news for Hartlepool, the town’s new H&M clothes store will open in Middleton Grange shopping centre on Thursday.
The ground floor of the store previously occupied by Marks & Spencer has been refurbished.