Furniture group MFI has announced almost 1,500 job cuts in a restructuring plan to reverse its ailing fortunes.
The plan will see the group abandon selling bathrooms and sofas, close 11 stores and cease operations at three of its eight home delivery centres.
The group made underlying losses of £600,000 in 2005, against £54.5m profits the year before.
The Transport & General Workers Union said the job cuts were a “bitter blow”, although it admitted the market conditions were to blame.
Retail union Usdaw pledged to support its members at MFI, even though it is not formally recognised by the company.
Usdaw national officer John Gorle, said: “We welcome MFI’s commitment to become more focused on customer delivery, but wholesale redundancies of highly motivated and experienced staff will not help it to compete in an extremely competitive and difficult sector.
“We’ll be contacting senior MFI management to find out which stores are earmarked for closure and where it intends to shed jobs because our experience is that the sooner information is passed down to the workers the less worry and uncertainty there will be for our members.”