William Hill today announced that, due to profit falls, it will go ahead with the permanent closure of 119 betting shops as a result of COVID-19.
The betting operator runs more than 1,500 shops around the UK and has stated that while it isn’t clear how many jobs will be affected, the majority of its colleagues will be redeployed within the estate.
Despite the closures, the chain said it was encouraged by progress seen recently since betting stores were allowed to reopen. For instance, the company will repay £24.5m of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme monies, or furlough funds, due to increased operations.
Chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson said: "I am delighted with William Hill's performance in these extraordinary times. The furlough scheme provided welcome and timely support, and meant we could protect the jobs of our 7,000 UK retail colleagues. Therefore, given the strength of our recovery post-lockdown, we have decided to repay the furlough funds."
Additionally, its exclusive media partnership with CBS Sports is now live, bringing cost-efficient customer acquisition and access to fantasy sports in the US. Eldorado’s completed acquisition of Caesars has also brought the betting operator’s US market share of sports wagering up to 29%, with positive online performance leading to international digital growth of 17%.