A BUSINESS founded by a Burnley man which became one of the UK’s 21st century success stories has announced plans to close 27 of its 105 stores - with the Burnley branch among those at risk.

Oak Furnitureland’s move will put 163 jobs at risk.

The hardwood furniture business, started by retail mogul Jason Bannister in 2006, announced restructuring plans a month after it was rescued from collapse by venture capitalists in a pre-pack administration deal.

It said it has now earmarked 27 of its 105 stores for closure as trading conditions “continue to be challenging”.

The firm has outlets in Mr Bannister’s hometown of Burnley and one at Middlebrook Retail Park near Bolton with the former said to be on the list for the axe.

Oak Furnitureland chief executive officer Alex Fisher said: “The current proposal to close some showrooms forms part of a company-wide review.

“We are committed to driving forward a plan for our future growth, and although this has been a difficult decision, it is the right one for the business in these uniquely challenging times.

“We are confident that the decision will ensure we remain a competitive and dynamic choice for our customers."

The business has been one of the UK’s most heartening success stories in recent years.

Mr Bannister founded the chain after leaving school with no O Levels and having seen his childhood dream of becoming a professional golfer dashed.

Building Oak Furnitureland into one of the UK’s most recognised brands would more than make his name however, the firm eventually expanded into the American online market in 2016.

This success and high profile allowed Mr Bannister to invest in his lifelong passion — Burnley FC — and during the championship title winning 2015/16 season Oak Furnitureland became the club’s principal sponsor.

However, the company’s recent announcement comes at a tough time for retailers across all sectors.

Mr Bannister, who was Oak Furnitureland’s biggest shareholder, was said to be supportive of the sale and will have no involvement in the business’s future.

Mr Fisher said: “I would like to say thank you to all of my colleagues in every department who have been endlessly committed and patient during this process.”