A COUNTY Durham branch of Argos is among the stores which will not reopen following last year's revelation that the majority will remain shut.

Argos on Chester-le-Street Front Street has been completely stripped of its fixtures and fittings, with all external signs removed.

It is understood contractors were seen on Tuesday finalising the work to close the store, which has traded in the town for more than 20 years.

SEE MORE: One of the region's biggest Argos stores pulls out of the Metrocentre

It comes as Argos Extra in Gateshead Metrocentre was last year pictured with large signs saying the store had now closed.

In October, Sainsbury's, which owns the brand, revealed it was cutting around 3,500 jobs and closing branches as part of efforts to "better reflect customer demand."

The Northern Echo: Visible from the Front Street, all fixtures and fittings have been removed Picture: CONTRIBUTORVisible from the Front Street, all fixtures and fittings have been removed Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

Sainsbury's had previously said it would be permanently closing its meat, fish and deli counters in supermarkets as part of the restructure, which will save around £60m.

It also said roles will go with the imminent closure of 120 Argos stores, which is part of a strategy to shut 420 standalone Argos branches over the next three-and-a-half years.

The long-term plan will leave it with around 100 standalone stores as it accelerates the launch of more Argos stores and collection points in Sainsbury’s locations.

Such a list of the surviving stores has not yet been made public.

Sainsbury’s has said growth across the business will result in the creation of thousands of new jobs, with the company expected to see a net increase of 6,000 permanent roles this year despite the latest cuts.

The Northern Echo: Argos in Metrocentre, which has permanently closed Argos in Metrocentre, which has permanently closed

Chief executive of Sainsbury's, Simon Roberts said: “We are talking to colleagues today about where the changes we are announcing in Argos standalone stores and food counters impact their roles.

“We will work really hard to find alternative roles for as many of these colleagues as possible and expect to be able to offer alternative roles for the majority of impacted colleagues.

“Right here and now, I and all the team are focused on supporting and delivering for our customers in the days and weeks ahead.”

It comes as the UK’s second largest supermarket firm posted a pre-tax loss of £137m for the past year, after being hit by £438m in one-off costs related to store closures.