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B&Q job cuts: Bosses deny ‘kneejerk’ response
HAMPSHIRE DIY firm B&Q has insisted its axing of 220 jobs after its parent company posted a £30m drop in profits was not a “kneejerk” decision.
The wettest summer for 100 years knocked sales for the retail giant, causing its owner Kingfisher to announce a drop in profits, along with a six per cent decrease in like-for-like sales at B&Q.
But the company says the job cuts are not a reaction to the disappointing retail performance and are instead part of a three-year process.
Spokeswoman Zaria Pinchbeck said: “Part of the realignment is to make sure the business is in good shape for the future.
“This is not a kneejerk reaction – this is a process that’s been going on for some months. Back in 2009 there was a process of change launched called Martini, and the last few months have been the final piece of that in the head office.
“This is long-term thinking – making sure B&Q has sustainable jobs for the future.”
The company says there will be 100 new positions created at the head office as part of a restructure – but there is still a net loss of 220 positions.
B&Q also insisted that “every option will be looked at” in terms of moving staff threatened with redundancy to other positions.
However, it is mainly senior managers and administration staff that work at the head office, rather than store-based roles.
Andrew Webster from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce said the announcement was bound to have an impact in the local area.
He said: “I think it will have an effect on other businesses – that’s 220 people that are going to have to adjust their own personal affairs until they can find full time employment.”
The company, which recently moved to new headquarters in Chestnut Avenue, says it is “completely committed” to remaining in the area.
He said: “Hopefully in the future B&Q will bounce back as major retailers tend to do in better circumstances but that’s no comfort to people losing their jobs in a very difficult economic time.”
Eastleigh MP Mr Huhne called for the company to make sure those losing their job were on a “sound footing” to find new work.
He said: “The confirmation of these job losses is a shock for the local area and very sad news for all those who are facing redundancy. It is only right that B&Q does all it can for those people losing their jobs, making sure they are on a sound footing to move forward and find work elsewhere.”
Charity Retail Trust has offered to provide free support and assistance to those affected by the cuts by calling 0808 801 0808 or emailing helpline@retail trust.org.uk.
A 90-day consultation period on the redundancies started yesterday.