Up to 800 jobs are at risk after building materials supplier Wolseley UK announced plans to close 80 branches as part of a “major transformation programme”.
Following a comprehensive review of the firm’s plumbing and heating operations, the resulting restructuring plan and £100m investment will “create a leaner, more efficient operating model which will significantly improve service levels, product availability and choice,” the company said in a statement.
Citing a challenging UK market and a slowdown in growth as the reason behind the plans, Patrick Headon, managing director of Wolseley UK, said: “We have put the customer at the heart of this review with the aim of making Wolseley the first choice specialist merchant in our chosen markets.
A consultation process is now underway with the reorganisation, which is likely to save between £25 million to £30 million, expected to take two to three years to complete.
Confirming that is was too early to say which branches will close, Headon added: “We have a great business in the UK and there are continued opportunities for growth. I’m confident the transformation programme will drive better customer service and employee engagement and improve our financial returns.
“The trends in our profitability have been disappointing and we need to take action to improve our customer proposition and the efficiency of our business.
“We have an outstanding team made up of hard working and dedicated people across the UK and we are very conscious of the impact this transformation of the business will have on some of them.
“We are therefore committed to carrying out this programme as sensitively as possible, using voluntary means to achieve the proposed headcount reductions wherever possible. Over time I’m confident our proposals will benefit both our colleagues in the UK and the customers they serve every day.”