• Wesfarmers to cut 149 Homebase head office jobs
  • Buying, marketing and support staff affected
  • Move comes after Wesfarmers cleaned out Homebase board

Homebase’s new owner, Wesfarmers, will cut nearly 20% of its head office staff, in a bid to streamline support functions at the newly acquired DIY chain.

The move comes after Wesfarmers axed the Homebase board, bringing in its own directors. 

As many as 149 store support jobs are under threat of being axed at the retailer’s head office and distribution centres. There are around 800 head office jobs, with nearly one fifth now entering a consultation period of 45 days.

Wesfarmers, which plans to rebrand Homebase stores to its Bunnings fascia, said: “Earlier this month we updated our team about a proposed restructure of all store support functions. Obviously we will need to speak to the people whose jobs will be affected first and it would not be appropriate to give details while we are involved in a consultation process.

“What we can say is that we are not simply making across-the-board changes. Rather, we are reshaping the support resource to allow us to help the stores in the best manner possible. We have committed to our team that we will move forward as quickly as we can and that we will treat every team member affected generously and with respect.”

A Homebase spokeswoman confirmed the plans. She told Retail Week: "Bunnings wants to provide clearer responsibilities and better development opportunities. In order to do this they need a more cost effective, simpler head office structure.” 

The Australian retail group, which bought Homebase earlier this year, will release its third-quarter sales update on Thursday.

The DIY store's new owner has vowed to extend the living wage to all its employees, including those aged under 25, as part of a bid to improve conditions for employees.