Norfolk and Waveney branches could be hit as Travis Perkins closes 165 stores
PUBLISHED: 15:17 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:17 15 June 2020
Around 2,500 workers are set to lose their jobs at builders’ merchant and home improvement chain Travis Perkins, which has 16 branches across Norfolk and Waveney.
The UK’s largest builders’ merchants, which also owns Toolstation and Wickes, said the decision comes as it expects the recession to hit the trade for at least two years.
Bosses plan to close 165 stores - mainly focusing on smaller Travis Perkins sites - also they said there were encouraging signs that building work is returning.
The company has two branches in both Norwich and Great Yarmouth as well as sites in King’s Lynn, Fakenham, Cromer, North Walsham, Swaffham, Dereham, Wreningham, Attleborough and Diss.
It also operates branches in Lowestoft, Beccles and Brandon.
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The redundancies make up around nine per cent of the total workforce, the company added, with the store closures reducing its portfolio by eight per cent. It has not specified which branches are affected.
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The company said: “Branch closures will be concentrated in the merchant businesses, in particular the Travis Perkins General Merchant, focusing on small branches where it is either difficult to implement safe distancing practices, or where marginal profitability will be eroded in a reduced volume environment.”
The company added that over the past six weeks more branches have been opening - DIY stores were deemed “essential” and allowed to remain open during lockdown.
Sales were down 40pc in May compared with the same month a year ago, but there have been strong sales in Wickes and Toolstation as households stuck indoors turn their hands to DIY.
Its general merchanting business is operating well, it said, with builders returning to homes to continue or start new residential jobs following a relaxing of rules on going back to work.
But plumbing and heating is “recovering more slowly as a greater proportion of plumbing work requires tradesmen to work in people’s homes”, it added.
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Chief executive Nick Roberts said: “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.”
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