PowerHouse to cull staff in bid to stem rising costs

Electricals group PowerHouse is to make redundancies among store staff in the face of rising costs and tough trading conditions.

The privately-owned retailer has contacted shopworkers' union Usdaw to warn of planned cuts, and cited costs including an additional£500,000 because of a 1 per cent increase in National Insurance payments from April.

Human resources director Ron Jenkins told Usdaw in a letter that this and other costs, including rising rates and rents, had forced PowerHouse 'to reduce the number of jobs in the company'.

He said: 'Actions have been taken to release all temporary staff, stop overtime and recruitment. In addition, we will be dismissing some short-service staff, including those in their probationary period.'

He said staff are also being asked to consider reducing the number of hours worked on a voluntary basis.

Consultation with staff began on January 17 and continued the following week.

PowerHouse has indicated to Usdaw that it hopes to avoid further cuts.

However, Jenkins said if trading worsened during the year, there might be further job losses.

He said trading over Christmas was 'extremely disappointing for every retailer outside the food retail sector'.

A PowerHouse spokesperson said: 'The tough trading conditions for electricals retailing have been well-documented. We have taken the prudent step of aligning our costs so we are well-placed to meet the challenges ahead.'

Last month, PowerHouse reported Christmas like-for-like growth of 1.3 per cent.