Hundreds set to lose jobs after sportswear firm closure plans

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UP to 250 people will lose their jobs after a sports clothing firm announced plans to axe a warehouse.

JD Sports is expected to shut its site in Kitching Road, at Peterlee’s North West Industrial Estate, by mid-June.

The company has said 150 employees will lose their jobs, plus 100 agency staff.

The firm, which uses the East Durham site to supply its Size, Scotts, Bank and Chausport stores, said has made the decision following the build a £20million warehouse in Rochdale.

Jobs to go at Peterlee, which was previously run by Blacks and First Sports, include drivers and those who run its returns section.

One worker, who did not want to be identified, said: “This has been going on for about two years now, but everyone feels like they’ve been left in the dark over what’s going on.

“Morale is pretty poor. Everyone just thinks we’ve been left to get on with it.

“They said they would give use help to train and find new jobs, but they’ve not and we all feel let down.”

Brian Small, chief financial officer for the firm, said of the new facility: “When it’s completed, which it nearly is, then all our warehouse is going to be centralised in Rochdale and for that reason, sadly, the Peterlee site is closing in mid-June.

“Jobs were offered in Rochdale, but that’s obviously some distance away from Peterlee, and that is why our stock needs to be in one place.”

He said an agency was working with the firm to help those due to lose their posts find new jobs.

The warehouse was bought by JD Sports when it acquired First Sport from Blacks, in 2002.

Mr Small said the owner of the building planned to develop it for use as another warehouse.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “My concern is we are haemorrhaging jobs at an alarming rate, which is having a devastating impact on the local economy.”

He said the number of jobs which are being lost through factory closures in the area recently was about 1,500.

“It is very, very worrying,” he added.

“We were told we had to accept loses in the public sector, but these are private sector jobs as well.

“The Government said their economic strategy was to grow the private sector. Well that clearly isn’t working in the North East.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham