Wolseley to axe up to 800 jobs and shut 80 branches

Wolseley employs around 340 staff at a base in Ripon
Wolseley employs around 340 staff at a base in Ripon

Plumb Center owner Wolseley, which employs around 340 staff at its base in Ripon, is set to axe up to 800 jobs nationally as part of a restructuring that will see it shut 80 branches and a distribution centre.

It is understood that Wolseley plans to keep its offices in Leamington Spa and Ripon, and the bulk of the job cuts will be made in the branch network. Which branches will be affected has yet to be confirmed.

The company says it has seen a sharp slowdown in growth, and the shake-up is expected cost the firm £100m.

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.”

Wolsley is now part of a multinational group whose headquarters are in Switzerland. It is understood that the restructuring is part of a two- to three-year plan to reposition the UK business, and the changes announced today will take that long to implement.

The group employs 6,000 people in the UK and operates across 750 branches.

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