Builders merchant Travis Perkins to cut 600 jobs

Travis Perkins said the branches would be shut across its trade businesses

The group has warned full year underlying earnings will be "slightly below" current market consensus at around £415 million.

Turnover at the building merchant grew 3.4 per cent between July and September across its network of 600 branches and 200 tool-hire outlets, which include the DIY chain Wickes.

Travis Perkins said the branches would shut across its trade business, while it also plans to close 10 smaller distribution centres after reviewing its plumbing and heating divisions.

"Given that levels of future demand remain hard to predict, the group has chosen to implement a number efficiency programmes and branch closures to further optimise the network", Travis Perkins said in a statement.

The restructure is in response to future levels of demand being "difficult to predict" and will lead to an exceptional charge of between £40m and £50m, of which two thirds will be non-cash write offs.

The 600 affected workers have been told of the changes, Travis Perkins, which has branches in Chesterfield, Mansfield, Worksop and Ilkeston, said.

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It blamed weak demand, changing customer buying behaviours and the impact of previous government boiler replacement incentive schemes which had brought sales forward.

Total sales for the quarter rose 3.4% compared with the same period past year, the group said.

But it said its general merchanting business saw better trading in the quarter, while Wickes and Toolstation and its contracts businesses put in " very strong performances".

"Our Plumbing & Heating results were disappointing and whilst market conditions have worsened, we are not satisfied with our performance and will commence reviewing these operations".

Travis Perkins has faced challenges in the supply of plumbing and heat products, where like-for-like sales fell 4.1 per cent, amid intense price competition in the wholesale market and falling prices for materials such as copper and plastic.