Travis Perkins branch closures to hit 600 workers

Builders' merchant and Wickes chain owner Travis Perkins has revealed plans to close more than 30 branches in a move that will affect 600 jobs across the group.

Travis Perkins said 600 jobs would be affected as the builders' merchant closes more than 30 branches. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Travis Perkins said 600 jobs would be affected as the builders' merchant closes more than 30 branches. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The group said the branches would be shut across its trade businesses, while it is also closing ten smaller distribution centres and reviewing its plumbing and heating division as it warned over full-year profits amid “uncertain” trading.

All 600 affected staff are aware of the changes, said Travis Perkins, which employs 28,000 people. It hopes to relocate some workers to other sites.

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Branches are expected to close across its trade brands, such as Travis Perkins, kitchen and joinery arm Benchmarx and plumbing and heating businesses BSS and PTS.

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The overhaul comes as Travis Perkins said full-year underlying earnings would be “slightly” lower than expected, while it cautioned over the outlook for 2017.

It said: “Given that levels of future demand remain difficult to predict, the group has chosen to implement a number of efficiency programmes and branch closures to further optimise the network.

“This work includes the closure of ten smaller distribution and fabrication centres, the write-off of certain IT legacy equipment and over 30 branch closures in our trade businesses.”

The group said the heating and plumbing division will see the bulk of the branch closures after a “disappointing” performance in the third quarter and in the face of worsening trading conditions. It plans to report back on its review of the business next year.

But Travis Perkins said its general merchanting business saw better trading in the quarter, while consumer-facing chains Wickes and Toolstation and its contracts businesses put in “very strong performances”. Overall like-for-like sales grew 2 per cent in the third quarter.

Chief executive John Carter said: “It is still too early to predict customer demand in 2017 with certainty and we will continue to monitor our lead indicators closely.”

Travis Perkins is half-way through a five-year overhaul of the group, which is seeing it shut unprofitable stores and expand in better-performing areas. It is revamping its Wickes stores and said it has refitted 50 shops.