STAFF at an Irvine hardware store fear they may lose their jobs after the company was bought for just £1.

Homebase has been sold by its Australian owner Wesfarmers to retail restructuring firm Hilco, following a disastrous few years in British retail.

The deal, for a nominal sum believed to be £1, will see Wesfarmers book a loss of up to £230 million and see the firm exit the UK after picking up the DIY chain for £340 million in 2016.

Homebase has 250 UK stores and employs around 12,000 people.

Staff at its store in Irvine’s Riverway Retail Park will not know if their jobs are safe as it is not clear if Hilco, which is billed as a “retail turnaround specialist” and also owns HMV, will close stores.

Under the terms of the agreement, the purchasers will acquire all Homebase assets, including the Homebase brand, its store network, freehold property, property leases and inventory.

Homebase was acquired by Australian company, Wesfarmers in 2016 but last week they took the decision to exit the UK following a comprehensive review of the business.

Damian McGloughlin, CEO, declined to reveal what the future held for current Homebase staff and stores.

He said: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Hilco and this marks an exciting new chapter for Homebase.”

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is now seeking urgent talks with Hilco to secure its members futures.

Dave Gill, Usdaw National Officer says: “Staff in Homebase stores are extremely worried for the future after company’s ownership changes hands yet again. Clearly the sale for just one pound is very disturbing. I am in touch with the company and we are seeking urgent meetings to secure jobs.

“Obviously the Wesfarmers ownership has been a disaster and we are hopeful that Hilco can help turn the business around. It is crucial that the company listens to the staff and invests in their experience and expertise to make a success of the business from the currently very low base.

“Usdaw is the trade union for Homebase staff and now more than ever they need the representation and support we can provide. I am writing to all our members working in Homebase to reassure them that Usdaw will provide support, advice and representation throughout the period of transition.”