Travis Perkins has revealed plans to close around 165 branches and reduce its workforce by 2,500, as demand for building supplies falls
Travis Perkins is consulting on plans to close 65 branches across the overall branch estate, representing 8% of the group’s network.
In total, it expects to reduce the number of colleagues by around 2,500 or approximately 9% of the workforce.
The group’s weekly volume run rate is now around 85-90% of prior year with particular strength in Wickes’ core DIY ranges and in Toolstation.
Across the merchanting and plumbing & heating businesses, volumes are now around 80% of prior year. The general merchanting division is operating well, whereas trading in plumbing & heating is recovering more slowly as a greater proportion of plumbing work requires tradesmen to work in people’s homes.
However, while there has been a significant recovery in trading volumes in recent weeks, Travis Perkins says it is evident that the UK is facing a recession and this will have a corresponding impact on the demand for building materials during 2020 and 2021.
Travis Perkins restructuring
In its statement the company said: “Reflecting the challenging outlook for our end-markets, the group is taking regrettable but necessary actions to preserve the future competitiveness of the business.
“Following discussions with colleagues this morning [15 June], the group has commenced a consultation process regarding the closure of around 165 branches across the overall branch estate, representing approximately 8% of the Group’s network.
“In addition, the group is consulting on above-branch roles in the distribution, administrative and sales functions. In total, the group expects to reduce the number of colleagues by around 2,500 or approximately 9% of the workforce.”
Branch closures will be concentrated in the merchant businesses, in particular the Travis Perkins general merchant, focusing on small branches.
Due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Travis Perkins has revealed it has decided to publish its interim results in early September.
Nick Roberts, chief executive, said: “The Covid pandemic has created significant challenges across our group and I have been hugely encouraged by the flexibility of our colleagues to adapt our business models successfully and at pace, which has enabled us to maintain safe working practices whilst continuing to provide an effective service to our customers.
“Whilst we have experienced improving trends more recently, we do not expect a return to pre-Covid trading conditions for some time and consequently we have had to take the very difficult decision to begin consultations on the closure of selected branches and to reduce our workforce to ensure we can protect the group as a whole.
“This is in no way a reflection on those employees impacted and we will do everything we can to support them during this process.
“The group has a robust balance sheet, strong liquidity position and I am confident that these proposed changes will enable us to trade successfully through this period of uncertainty with a cost base that better reflects the environment we are operating in.”