DOZENS of jobs could be lost in Wigan after a leading high street DIY firm announced it was closing its store in the borough.
Homebase signalled it was leaving Wigan by covering the outside of its Marus Bridge store in huge posters explaining it is closing down.
Home Retail Group, which owns Homebase and Argos, confirmed the Worthington Way store will close on June 27 and is hoping to relocate staff to its nearest shops.
In a statement the company, which has two Argos stores in Wigan and two in Leigh, said it remained committed to serving the local community.
However, as the nearest Homebase will be in Horwich it seems likely at least some jobs will move out of the borough.
The store was today busy with shoppers seemingly drawn by the chance of bargain hunting as the DIY giant looks to clear its shelves.
Home Retail Group announced last autumn it was looking to close around a quarter of its DIY stores as it said the market was slowing down dramatically.
However, despite this the appearance of the signs appears to have come out of the blue, with several residents contacting the Wigan Evening Post as they were unaware the store was on borrowed time.
Ward councillor Paul Kenny said: “I was shocked to see the closing down notices on site and this must be a very difficult time for staff.
“I know that the DIY sector has been hit by the economic downturn in recent years and changing customer habits. The announcement last year that one in four Homebase stores would close demonstrates the difficulties the sector is experiencing.
“I hope that there will be scope for staff to remain within the Home Retail Group of companies via redeployment.”
Announcing the programme of store closures last year, Home Retail Group blamed a lack of DIY skills among younger people as well as a lack of time leading to residents calling in professionals rather than carrying out jobs themselves.
The DIY sector has also become increasingly crowded with other long-established firms including B&Q experiencing downturns in trade and bricks-and-mortar stores having to compete with the rise of online-based traders such as Screwfix.