There'll be no renovation rescue for beleaguered home improvement chains Masters and Home Timber & Hardware after Woolworths announced it was "exiting" the businesses.
The supermarket giant released a statement Monday indicating it would take "many years" for Masters to become profitable.
"We have determined we cannot continue to sustain ongoing losses from this business," the statement said.
"Woolworths’ top priority is to do the right thing by our employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders, and we will act quickly and openly to minimise the impact of this decision.
"If Woolworths is unable to sell all of the business and has to close any of the operations, it will seek to provide alternate employment opportunities within the Woolworths Group to all current Home Improvement employees."
The statement also said gift certificates would be honoured and the businesses would continue to operate while an exit strategy was finalised which would involve either selling the businesses or closing them.
As the stores are operated through a joint venture with U.S. business Lowe’s, Woolworths announced it would first acquire Lowe's stake to simplify the wind down.
The store, which was billed as a competitor to Bunnings, had reportedly racked up losses of $700 million since 2011.
While The Australian reported Bunnings was interested in several of Masters’ sites in the event of a liquidation, Bunnings is also set to expand in the UK.
Bunnings' owner Wesfarmers last week announced it would roll out the hardware store in the U.K. within five years.
Back in Australia, electronics retailer Dick Smith went into voluntary receivership in January and businesses interested in buying the chain had until January 27 to put in a formal expression of interest. .