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Staff expect jobs announcement at B&Q headquarters

A major Hampshire employer was set to make an announcement on job cuts this morning, the Daily Echo understands.

Staff at the Chandler’s Ford headquarters of DIY store B&Q were expecting to receive letters on the future of the company, according to a source.

The retail giant has confirmed that it will be making a statement on the “shape of the organisation going forward”, but has refused to say if that will include job losses.

As revealed in the Daily Echo last month, the company has previously refused to rule out redundancies in a “realignment” of employees at the head office.

B&Q House in Chestnut Avenue is currently the workplace for 1,200 people.

Kingfisher, the company that owns B&Q, said last month that the wettest summer in 100 years had wiped £30m from the group’s profits as demand for gardening and outdoor maintenance goods nosedived.

B&Q’s like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland dropped by six per cent to £2 billion and average footfall plummeted by 20 per cent during the worst weather-affected weeks – leading to a 24 per cent drop in retail profits.

The business has previously said that their realignment scheme had nothing to do with the figures, and had started before they were released.

B&Q also said the changes were taking place with the full involvement of its internal team.

When contacted by the Daily Echo yesterday about job losses, B&Q refused to comment on whether or not redundancies would be announced.

The company has been based in Chandler’s Ford for more than 25 years and last year moved to a brand new 220,000 sq ft headquarters next to its previous office.

Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne said the retail giant had had a “rough year” – but was a vital part of the local economy.

He said: “First and foremost, any job losses are terribly sad, affecting not just the individuals involved, but their families and the community as a whole, and my sympathies go to those who face uncertainty over their job.”

Source : Bethan Phillips – Daily Echo

09 October 2012
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