The Warehouse plans to shut a North Shore store at Birkenhead, affecting around 40 staff.

Pejman Okhovat, Warehouse chief executive, said: "Last night we shared a proposal with our team at The Warehouse Birkenhead to close the store at its lease end at the end of July.

"There are 17 full time and 23 part-time employees at Birkenhead. There are also some casual workers. Should the proposal go ahead, customers will still have the options of Glenfield, Albany or Milford, as well as the increasingly popular online store," the statement said.

"The proposal shared that over the past few years we have seen customer shopping habits change, as more customers choose to shop in larger The Warehouse stores and online.

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"This has been the case in Birkenhead for a while, with many in the area shopping at the nearby Glenfield store which includes a Warehouse Stationery, just a few minutes away, or at our flagship store in Albany. Despite the incredible efforts of our team, this has meant that profitability and transactions at our Birkenhead store has steadily declined overtime. With the economic impact of Covid-19 and the challenging trading environment we now are faced with as the economy shifts and disposable income reduces, we expect that it will put more pressure on some of our stores, including Birkenhead," Okhovat said.

Given these factors, and the significant work required to physically maintain the site at the Highbury Centre, the business was now at the point where it could not continue to absorb these costs.

"Should the proposal go ahead we will be consulting with each of our team individually to discuss redeployment options to one of our other stores. In the meantime, we will be offering the team access to counselling and support through this unsettling time.