BETTING company William Hill has said it will shut 119 of its high street shops as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm, which has 1500 UK outlets, said it did not think customers would come back in the same numbers seen before the Covid-19 crisis hit this year.

The company posted profits of £141 million for the first half of 2020, a loss of £63m compared with last year.

It said it would repay £24.5m it received from the UK Government furlough scheme.

Ulrik Bengtsson, chief executive at William Hill, 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 7000 UK retail colleagues. Therefore, given the strength of our recovery post-lockdown, we have decided to repay the furlough funds."

William Hill did not say how many jobs would be affected by the closures, but confirmed most colleagues would be “redeployed within the estate”.