food & drink

Jobs axe falls on Tesco Homeplus stores

Around 450 jobs are being axed by embattled supermarket Tesco under plans to close the last six of its Homeplus stores.

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The group said the final stores of its once 12-strong non-food retail chain Homeplus would shut on June 27, following the closure of six outlets in March.

The latest closures will affect stores in Hartcliffe in Bristol, Bracknell, Nottingham, Denton, Bromborough and Preston.

The latest blow comes on top of the 43 group-wide store closures announced by Tesco in January, affecting 2,000 staff.

Today’s move brings to an end Tesco’s ill-fated Homeplus venture, which launched in 2005, offering standalone outlets stocking non-food items including homeware, clothing, electrical goods and stationery products.

Homeplus previously employed 840 staff, with 390 jobs lost when the earlier tranche of stores closed two months ago.

A spokesman said: “We’ve taken the difficult decision to close our remaining six Homeplus stores.

“Our priority is now to explain what this announcement means for our colleagues and wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with Tesco.”

Tesco has suffered one of the worst years in its history, last month announcing a £6.4 billion annual loss after taking a massive writedown on the value of its property portfolio.

Its profits were also dragged down by a series of profit warnings amid a ferocious price war with rivals.

The group’s dire year also saw it forced to declare a £263 million black hole in its accounts.

It announced yesterday that it had appointed Deloitte as its new auditor, ending an association with PwC stretching back three decades.

Chief executive Dave Lewis, who was parachuted in from Unilever to replace predecessor Philip Clarke last September, is shedding unprofitable stores as part of wider measures designed to revive the group’s fortunes and halt sliding sales.

It is also reportedly preparing to put its Tesco Mobile business up for sale in a move that could raise hundreds of millions of pounds.

Other changes under Mr Lewis include shutting Tesco’s final salary pension scheme, disposing of its loss-making blinkbox online video operation and moving its headquarters from Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City to save around £250 million.

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