ONLINE retailer Shop Direct is to close its two sites in Oldham alongside another in Salford with the total loss of nearly 2,000.

Closures will affect 1,177 permanent staff and 815 agency firm, the Liverpool-based company said.

The announcement comes as a blow to hundreds of workers at Shop Direct’s national distribution centre at Linney Lane, Shaw, and the returns facility at Raven Mill, Chadderton, in addition to others at Little Hulton.

The company, which also owns and, said the closures would start from the middle of 2020 that it had made the announcement to give the employees the best opportunity to prepare.

Derek Harding, the interim group chief executive of Shop Direct, said: “This is a tough day for the business and we know how difficult this news will be to hear for our teams in Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven Mill in Chadderton.

"However, these proposals are necessary for our future and to enable us to continue to grow and meet rising customer expectations."

All of the affected Shop Direct employees are now consulting with the group about the changes, with the Usdaw union supporting staff.

The retailer is owned by the billionaire Barclay brothers, David and Frederick, who also own the Daily Telegraph newspaper titles.

The company added: "For Shop Direct to continue to meet customer demand, the business now needs a new, purpose-built and automated facility in a central, well-connected location, that can accommodate all one-man fulfilment and returns operations on one site, and that provides room for continued expansion."

Usdaw divisional officer Mike Aylward said his members were “understandably shocked and devastated by the announcement”.

He went on: “The company has been providing employment for families in the North West for many decades and these sites have different generations of the same families working there.

“The impact of closures will be huge on hundreds of families, local businesses and the local communities.

“We are seeking an urgent meeting with the company to look at the business case for the proposed closures and we will look to mobilise the support of local MPs and councillors.

“The union has officials on site to provide help, advice and support at this very difficult time.

“Today’s announcement is also a very sad day for the North West as Shop Direct was created from the merger of the iconic mail order and retail giants, Littlewoods and Great Universal Stores and these are the company’s last remaining fulfilment sites in the region.”

Are you affected by the closures? Call Nick Jackson on 07968 828331, 0161848 5256, or email