Jobs threat as PowerHouse cuts back

Electricals retailer PowerHouse is in talks with unions over the proposed closure of its distribution centre in Milton Keynes, which could affect 90 jobs.

The 230-store chain, which is the UK's third biggest electricals group, said the closure is part of a strategy to cut costs and maximise efficiency as it prepares for further growth.

Managing director Neil Allan said: 'We have to be realistic and prudent in this harsh climate.'

The retailer plans to make better use of capacity at its two other sites, in Walsall and Mossend. In addition, its home delivery depot at Hemel Hempstead will begin distributing to stores as well.

Allan said: 'With some ambitious and innovative growth plans ahead, we must make sure we are as efficient as possible in order to be able to continue investing and expanding.'

PowerHouse proposes to close the Milton Keynes centre on April 4. Consultation with employees and unions is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

'Our warehouse capacity, partly inherited from our Scottish Power stores acquisition, was simply out of scale with our requirements,' said Allan. 'This proposed solution will set us on a much more logical course for the future, and help us withstand the predicted softening of consumer expenditure in the first half of this year.'