Closure of British Gas Shops

Centrica plc has today announced the closure of its 243 British Gas Energy Centres. British Gas will continue to supply fires, cookers and associated products through home shopping facilities.

Energy Centres losses after exceptional charges were £33m in 1998 on turnover of £169m. Every effort has been made to turn the business round. However, High Street trading conditions have been very difficult for an extended period, exacerbated by intense competitive activity. As a result, losses have continued and are estimated to be £25m for the first half of 1999. In the light of this, Centrica's strategic review concluded that no further investment should be made in the high street shop network. The total cost of closure, including associated trading, is estimated at £60m, which will be charged in the current year.

The closure will take place over the next six weeks.

Roy Gardner, Chief Executive of Centrica said:

"We are continuing to develop our strategy of providing customers with high quality services and value for money products with a focus on energy supply, home and motoring services and financial services. Our intention is to re-deploy as many staff as possible across the Centrica group, where extensive opportunities exist across our substantial business base."