800 jobs to go under plans by Plumb Center owner Wolseley to close 80 branches

Wolseley is to axe around 800 jobs.
Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Wolseley is to axe around 800 jobs. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA - Credit: PA

Plumb Center owner Wolseley is set to axe up to 800 jobs as part of a restructuring that will see it shut 80 branches and a distribution centre.

The shake-up, which will cost the firm £100m, comes amid a challenging period in the UK, where it has seen a sharp slowdown in growth.

Wolseley said: “The closure of around 80 branches and one distribution centre is expected to lead to up to 800 job losses, the impact of which we will minimise through redeployment and attrition as far as possible.

“The programme is subject to consultation which will commence shortly and is expected to take 90 days.”

The group employs 6,000 people in the UK and runs 750 branches, also including other brands such as Pipe Center, Parts Center and Burdens.

Wolseley said it was too early to identify which brands and locations would be affected by the closures.

The group said that in the UK, which accounts for 8% of its profits, the repair, maintenance and improvement markets had declined and growth was “weak” as it flagged a challenging environment.

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Wolseley added that the restructuring would generate £25m to £30m of annual cost savings when complete.

The group made the announcement alongside full-year results, which saw overall revenues rise 4.2% at constant exchange rates to £14.4bn.

Pre-tax profit rose from £508m to £727m, driven by its operation in the United States –where it trades as Ferguson – which accounts for the bulk of its business.