Perth has been dealt a major blow with the confirmation the city’s Homebase store is to close with the loss of more than 30 jobs.
While not entirely unexpected the company warned last year that 25% of its stores were to be axed the announcement confirms the worst fears of staff.
The store at St Catherine’s Retail Park on the edge of the city centre had been a fixture for many years but was identified as one of the company’s under performing outlets.
The closure is a blow for the retail park, which has recently undergone significant investment and attracted new tenants.
Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said he would support efforts to find alternative employment for those affected.
“It has been widely known that the company has been facing difficulties and that a programme of closures was in the offing but I am very disappointed to receive confirmation that Homebase in Perth is to close with the loss of 34 jobs,” he said.
“Through contact with the council and directly with the parent company I will be following developments closely but it does appear to be the end of the road for Homebase.
“My thoughts are with those folk facing redundancy and I sincerely hope that efforts can be made to find alternative employment for them.”
Roseanna Cunningham, MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, said: “At the end of last week, I contacted Homebase about concerns I was picking up and was told that they had entered a period of consultation with colleagues on a proposed closure.”
“That consultation appears to have been short and sharp.
“Today’s news is very disappointing indeed and I want to hear some detail from the Home Retail Group on what kind of redundancy package is on offer and what plans they might have to offer employment in other stores within the group and what other assistance can be made available.
“I sincerely hope that all the workers affected can secure new work quickly.”
The company said in a statement its staff at the store, which is still trading, were its main concern.
“Homebase can confirm that the business has entered a period of consultation with colleagues regarding the proposed closure of our store in Perth,” it said.
“Colleagues at the store have been informed and we will be working with them to support them as much as possible.
“As this consultation is in progress, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
Home Retail Group, which also includes Argos, said last year that a number of its stores which were “unprofitable or are in decline” would be closing.
Perth City North councillor Dave Doogan said: “When businesses are forced to close stores, loyal and hard-working staff are entitled to be treated fairly and I trust this will happen here.
“I am hopeful that alternative employment locally is a realistic prospect for the staff and this is something that a number of organisations can assist with if necessary.
“In addition, we have seen a tremendous transformation at the retail park over the last year with updated units bringing new retailers to the area.
“I hope that this wider investment programme by the new owners of the retail park Episo may deliver positive prospects for the Homebase building and more importantly the staff.”
Perth and Kinross Council leader Ian Miller said Skills Development Scotland, as the lead partner for PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment), will be making contact with the shop to put in place a partnership approach of support for all staff affected by the closure.
“Perth and Kinross Council will be doing everything possible to support this initiative,” he said.