Peterborough retailer axes 176 jobs as support hub closes

Exterior of Kiddicare, Hampton EMN-170322-145100009
Exterior of Kiddicare, Hampton EMN-170322-145100009
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More than 170 jobs in Peterborough are to be axed as a leading retailer looks to shake up its operations.

Home and furniture retailer Dunelm is to close its Worldstores distribution and call centres based within its Kiddicare store, in Cygnet Park, Hampton.

The closure will mean the loss of 176 jobs in the city.

The company has started a four weeks consultation with staff and the closure is expected to take place by the end of June this year.

Dunelm is offering redeployment for all its staff across a range of locations outside Peterborough.

The company has also confirmed the Kiddicare retail store, which has 50 staff and was created by Peterborough entrepreneurs Marilyn and Neville Wright in 1974, will remain open.

A spokeswoman for Dunelm said: “We have notified colleagues that we will be moving both the distribution centre and the call centre to existing Dunelm facilities in due course to build on the strengths of both businesses.

“We are committed to helping all colleagues find new roles in the Peterborough area or ideally take up positions in Dunelm where possible.

“In addition, we are working with the Job Centre Plus in Peterborough to arrange Job Fairs with other local employers and will support colleagues if they wish to apply for roles at other companies.

She added: “We currently do not have plans to close the Peterborough Kiddicare store.”

News of the job losses is a blow to Peterborough after figures revealed the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Peterborough rose in January to 1,645 compared to 1,485 for December.

Dunelm bought home and gardens specialist Worldstores and Kiddicare, which sells nursery supplies and products for young children, last year and announced plans to integrate its businesses.

Kiddicare has been through a challenging time since its sale to Morrisons in 2011 for £70 million. The supermarket chain sold it for just £2 million to private equity firm Endless in 2014, which in turn sold it two months later to Worldstores.

Steve Bowyer, chief executive of economic development company Opportunity Peterborough, said: “Although this is sad news for the city, we have seen major growth in Peterborough’s economy and Opportunity Peterborough is seeing a lot of investor interest in the city.

He added: “We must all continue to work together to ensure Peterborough retains and grows its existing businesses wherever possible.”