High Street Bookmaker William Hill have this morning announced that they have entered a consultancy process to shut down and close 700 shops, in part due to the reduction in the maximum stake on FOBT’s.
In making the statement this morning, the bookmaker anticipated that 4,500 jobs would be at risk of redundancy as a result of the plan closure of shops, without many positions being made available elsewhere within the group.
The closure of 700 shops would be just under a third of Hill’s entire UK shop estate, which currently numbers around 2,300 shops. A company spokesman upon announcing the consultancy process concerning the planned closures said: “The group will look to apply voluntary redundancy and redeployment measures extensively and will be providing support to all colleagues throughout the process.”
“Subject to the outcome of the consultation process, shop closures are likely to begin before the end of the year.”
This move, whilst not unexpected, is another blow to the UK High Street, which has been under immense pressure from online competitors over the past few years.