BETTING chain William Hill, which has around 20 branches in East Lancashire, has announced it is closing 119 stores nationwide.

Stores include branches in Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley but, as yet, locations of those under threat have not been released.

However, the company says that this will only result in 12 job losses with most staff members relocated.

A spokesperson said: “The business has traded well since mainstream sport resumed and our UK shops have re-opened and we are encouraged by the early indications.”

Meanwhile CEO Ulrik Bengtsson praised the company’s efforts.

He said: “I am delighted with William Hill’s performance in these extraordinary times.

“Our team has been remarkable, supporting each other and our customers throughout the pandemic, and I would like to thank them for their continuing efforts.

“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.”

The company swung to a pre-tax profit of £141 million in the first half of the year, a swing from a loss of £63 million.

Revenue was £554 million, down by a third.