Job fears as B&Q superstore near Asda in Ipswich announces closure
PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 October 2015 | UPDATED: 17:15 05 October 2015
Home improvement giant B&Q is set to close one of its biggest Suffolk stores - at Anglia Retail Park on the edge of Ipswich, it can be revealed.
The firm last night declined to say how many people are employed at the store, but it is estimated there are around 100 full or part-time positions.
The closure will happen in the next financial year. The company has vowed to find new jobs for its employees within the Kingfisher Group, which owns B&Q and Screwfix, during the coming months.
The news is also a major blow to Anglia Retail Park, opposite the Asda superstore in Goddard Road, which has already seen a number of stores close and will now lose its biggest retailer.
Martin Goonan, Ipswich borough councillor for the Whitehouse ward, said he was disappointed to hear the news because of what it meant for jobs in the area.
“It’s always a shock to hear but especially of such a reputable business closing down,” he added. “It’s a great shame and I really hope the site gets filled as soon as possible.
“Any area of any town in any part of the country having empty shops is not good but you work really hard to get them filled as soon as you can.”
Colin Wright, who is also a borough councillor for the ward, said the closure would have a “large effect” on Whitehouse.
“I’m certainly very shocked and saddened to hear it,” he added. “I’m a councillor for this end of the town and I also live here and any closure of this size is saddening.”
It is understood that employees at the smaller B&Q store in Ransomes Europark were told about the closure on Wednesday but have not been made aware that any staff from Anglia Retail Park would be transferring there.
It was also announced this week that a new Screwfix store would open in Goddard Road on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate on October 8, creating 13 new jobs.
The company refused to say whether employees at the closing B&Q have been offered the chance to transfer to Screwfix.
The Whitehouse store is also the main hub for bulk bag deliveries such as sand and gravel across Suffolk and it is not clear what will happen to this service in the future.
At the end of March this year, the Kingfisher Group revealed it would close as many as 60 B&Q stores over the next two years as part of a restructuring of its UK and Ireland business.
Shortly after, staff at the Lowestoft branch in North Quay Retail Park were told that their store would close at the start of next year, with reportedly 40 jobs being lost.
A B&Q spokesman said: “We have let colleagues at our Ipswich Anglia store know that their store is one of those planned for closure next financial year.
“Our focus for the coming months is on redeploying as many colleagues as we can within B&Q and the Kingfisher Group.”