Retailer Wilko is planning to close two stores in Wales this year, the company has announced.

The affected shops are in Merthyr Tydfil and Llanelli, with more than 40 jobs at risk. The move by Wilko comes amid a series of store closures across the UK which could affect more than 330 jobs in total. 

The shop earmarked for closure in Llanelli is in the Market Precinct while in Merthyr, the shop set to close is on Newmarket Walk.

The firm said the stores affected will close as leases end and favourable terms cannot be agreed, adding it will not affect its new openings or stores relocation programme.

The GMB union said it was “another nail in the High Street’s coffin”.

Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko’s chief executive said: “Our history is steeped in serving our customers and communities going back to 1930 but there’s no denying the way people shop with us and where they want to shop with us is changing.

“As a business we’re evolving and this includes working with landlords for more favourable terms, as well as looking at locations and store formats.

“We’ll continue to pull together to make our business better to secure the future of over 16,000 team members.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to support our affected team members who will be offered any available positions in nearby stores.

“We apologise to those communities where stores are closing but will continue to offer them everything they need in nearby stores or via”

Roger Jenkins, GMB National Officer, said: 

"These closures are devasting for Wilko workers and the communities who use them. 

“It’s yet another nail in the High Street’s coffin and GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents. 

“Empty high streets and shopping centres are in no one’s interest and but with 400 shops a week closing, this is inevitable  - unless the costs of premises can be reduced. 

“GMB will now meet with Wilko members to discuss our next steps.” 

Each store will have a 30-day consultation period while permanent recruitment in the vicinity of each site will freeze. The consultation period for Wilko in Llanelli will begin in August, while the consultation period for the Merthyr Tydfil store will start in September. 

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.