THIRTY jobs are under threat with news that a city DIY store is to close within months.
Homebase has confirmed it is to close its outlet near Sainsbury’s in Silksworth Lane in September.
“Following a consultation with colleagues over the past few weeks, Homebase can confirm it is closing its store in Sunderland on September 6, 2014,” it said.
“Discussions are taking place with affected colleagues to find alternative employment in our neighbouring stores in Washington and Gateshead, as well as our sister company Argos, that has stores in Sunderland on High Street and Hylton Retail Park.”
Silksworth ward councillor Phil Tye described the decision as “a massive blow” for the area, but said the important thing now was to support staff affected by the decision, and find a new use for the building as quickly as possible.
“My hope would be that the building is quickly let to another operator of some kind,” he said.
“What we don’t want to see is that building just lying there.
“It is Homebase’s decision to make, but it is disappointing they did not have the courtesy to inform local elected representatives beforehand, so we could be ready to help the staff and point them in the right direction if necessary.”
There was more positive jobs news on the north side of the Wear, with an announcement that retailer B&M will be creating another 20 posts when it moves into larger premises on the Hylton Riverside Retail Park.
The firm’s existing store will close its doors for the last time on Wednesday, June 11, and the larger store – three times the size – will open the next day.
The ribbon cutting will be undertaken by Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse, who will be joined by representatives from the Sunderland branch of Diabetes UK.
The charity has been nominated by store staff and will receive £250 worth of B&M vouchers.
Store manager Erica Barnes said: “We’re really proud to be opening a larger store in Sunderland, creating an extra 20 jobs and continuing to play our part in the local community.”