Wednesday 18 July 2018

B&Q to axe 200 head office jobs as part of cost-cutting overhaul

The company said the cull will ‘improve efficiency’.

BandQ is axing hundreds of jobs (Paul Faith/PA)
BandQ is axing hundreds of jobs (Paul Faith/PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

B&Q is to swing the axe on 200 head office jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive at the DIY retailer.

The company said on Tuesday that the cull, at its Southampton HQ, will “improve efficiency and simplify ways of working”.

Helena Feltham, the group’s HR director, said: “The new structure will improve efficiency, simplify ways of working, and reflect recent changes in the market and the number of B&Q stores.

“We want to be the leading home improvement company and make home improvement accessible to everyone. That means delivering great quality at prices that are truly affordable. To do that, we must operate differently.”

She added that B&Q has begun consulting with affected employees and their representative body, the National People’s Forum.

The news comes at a bruising time for high street retailers, which are struggling with Brexit-fuelled inflation that has sent the cost of goods rocket and consumer confidence plummeting.

To compound matters, firms have been stung by soaring business rates.

Several household names have swung the axe on jobs recently, including supermarket behemoths Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

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Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury is aiming to boost profits by £500 million a year by 2021 (Charles Best/Kingfisher/PA)

B&Q’s parent firm Kingfisher is undergoing an overhaul and last year warned over a cautious outlook in the UK

Chief executive Veronique Laury said in August that she remains “cautious” on the economic outlook, with the firm having previously flagged Brexit as creating uncertainty in the market.

As part of Ms Laury’s revival, she is aiming to boost profits by £500 million a year by 2021.

Ms Feltham added: “We recognise this is a difficult time for our colleagues and are supporting them in a number of ways.”

Press Association

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