B&Q has kick-started a drive to “simplify” its structure and “improve efficiency” in a move that will leave hundreds of roles at risk, Retail Week can reveal.

The DIY retailer has placed around 200 workers into consultation, 130 of whom are based at B&Q House in Southampton. Some field-based roles will also be impacted, but stores will not be affected by the changes.

B&Q said it was “too early to say” how many roles would be axed and insisted it would redeploy people where it could. The retailer currently employs around 27,000 staff across the company, including 2,000 at its head offices. 

It said the cuts reflect “recent changes in the market” and the reduced number of B&Q stores. The retailer has shuttered 64 sites over the past two years.

B&Q added that, while it is cutting the headcount at its headquarters in Southampton, “a number of new roles” have been created by parent company Kingfisher, primarily in its buying function.

B&Q HR director Helena Feltham said the business “must operate differently” in the current retail climate if it is to be the UK’s “leading home improvement company”.  

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

“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 are continuing to collectively consult with our employee’s representative body – the National People’s Forum, and are now consulting with our impacted colleagues.”

Group transformation 

The cuts at B&Q’s head office form part of parent company Kingfisher’s five-year transformation plan.

The DIY group, which also owns Screwfix, Castorama and Brico Dépôt, is in the second phase of One Kingfisher strategy, aimed at boosting its bottom line by £500m.

The plan, which is being driven by group chief executive Véronique Laury, involves streamlining product ranges across its European DIY chains, transforming and unifying the group’s digital capabilities and finding operational efficiencies.

B&Q’s sales declined 6.3% to £1.8bn in its first half, while like-for-likes dropped 2.3%.

Kingfisher reported a 0.9% increase in pre-tax profit to £440m at the half-year point, but said “business disruption” associated with the One Kingfisher plan sliced around 2% off its like-for-likes during the period.

Christian Mazauric took the reins at B&Q in July last year after former boss Michael Loeve stepped down after less than two years to run Netto International in Denmark.