Huge DIY brand to close 19 branches and axes 400 jobs | The Sun

A HUGE builders merchant axed 400 jobs and shut 19 branches at the end of last year.

Travis Perkins blamed a slowdown in the construction sector hitting its sales.

The group, which owns the Toolstation chain, said it was forced to take some "difficult decisions" to slash costs by £25million this year.

It closed 19 branches in its general merchant and Benchmarx divisions in the final quarter of 2022, with 400 jobs being lost due to the site closures and across central support functions.

The details came as Travis Perkins reported a 20% tumble in pre-tax profits to £245million for 2022.

It said it was impacted by woes in the housing market amid economic uncertainty as well as surging cost inflation.

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A Travis Perkins spokesperson said: "With the expectation of lower levels of activity in the UK construction sector in the year ahead, management implemented a number of cost reduction actions in the fourth quarter of 2022.

"These changes represent an acceleration of plans to modernise the business by exiting smaller branches and continuing to invest in larger, more capable, destination branches."

The group is expecting the wider construction market to plunge by "the mid to high single digit" range in 2023, with the residential, new build homes sector being among the worst impacted by the woes.

It also warned of more cost pressures over the year ahead, with inflation running at mid to high single-digit levels, marking a slight easing, but "no notable deflation in manufactured products" expected.

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Nick Roberts, chief executive of Travis Perkins said: "In the second half of the year we made some difficult decisions in response to the weaker trading environment and we continue to be watchful of market trends, working closely with our customers and suppliers to stay on the front foot."

It's unclear if any Toolstation stores have been affected.

The chain is UK's largest builders merchant supplying building materials and hire services to trade and non-trade customers.

There are more than 700 Travis Perkins branches across the UK – which include over 150 Benchmarx showrooms.

Toolstation has over 550 branches and sells tools and building supplies to trade and DIY customers.

The chain last cut its workforce by 2,500 in July 2020 when it shut down 165 branches.

Some back office functions were included in the layoff plans, which affected around 9% of Travis Perkins' 27,500 employees.

But Travis Perkins isn't the only trade brand to close stores.

B&Q is set to close eight "mini-shops" located inside Asda supermarkets for good within weeks.

The stores will close for good from March 11.

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The DIY retailer will look to launch smaller stores along the high street instead.

We've already listed the eight B&Qs shutting forever.

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