Rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse is to close a swathe of high street stores, resulting in hundreds of job losses.
The chain will shut 30 stores over the next two months and said redundancies will be an "inevitable" part of the process despite efforts to transfer employees to other jobs within the business.
Around 350 of BrightHouse's 3,000 staff are affected.
Its store within Byron Place Shopping Centre in Seaham is among those which will shut its doors.
A spokesman for the company said: "We are working to redeploy as many people as possible into alternative roles, but redundancies will be inevitable.
"We will be speaking to all customers affected by the store closures and either transferring them to another local store or serving them online."
It adds to a year of upheaval for BrightHouse, which announced last month that its chief executive Hamish Paton is to leave the company after two-and-a-half years at the helm.
The closures come amid a perfect storm of challenges to the high street, as well as tighter regulation on rent-to-own retailers.
Last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog proposed the introduction of a price cap on firms like BrightHouse, with the aim of protecting consumers from being charged excessive costs on essential household items.
The City watchdog said customers were often among the most financially vulnerable people in society, and in some cases they were paying up to four times the average retail price due to high interest payments on items.
In 2017, BrightHouse paid out £14.8 million in redress to 249,000 customers after the FCA found it did not act as a "responsible lender".
The full list of BrightHouse stores closing:
* Bognor Regis
* High Wycombe
* Leeds Merrion
* Newport (IOW)