Travis Perkins Group, the owner of brands including Toolstation and City Plumbing Supplies, is seeking to close up to 165 branches and cut up to 2,500 jobs.

In a trading and liquidity update published on its corporate website, Travis Perkins announced that it has commenced a consultation process regarding the closure of around 165 branches across the overall branch estate, representing approximately 8% of the group's network.

In addition, the group is consulting on above-branch roles in the distribution, administrative, and sales functions and expects to reduce the number of colleagues by around 2,500 or approximately 9% of the workforce.

The company says branch closures will be concentrated in the merchant businesses, in particular the Travis Perkins General Merchant, focusing on small branches where it is either difficult to implement safe distancing practices, or where marginal profitability will be eroded in a reduced volume environment.

Nick Roberts, Chief Executive at the Travis Perkins Group, commented: "The COVID pandemic has created significant challenges across our Group and I have been hugely encouraged by the flexibility of our colleagues to adapt our business models successfully and at pace, which has enabled us to maintain safe working practices whilst continuing to provide an effective service to our customers.

"While we have experienced improving trends more recently, we do not expect a return to pre-COVID trading conditions for some time and consequently we have had to take the very difficult decision to begin consultations on the closure of selected branches and to reduce our workforce to ensure we can protect the group as a whole. This is in no way a reflection on those employees impacted and we will do everything we can to support them during this process.

"The group has a robust balance sheet, strong liquidity position and I am confident that these proposed changes will enable us to trade successfully through this period of uncertainty with a cost base that better reflects the environment we are operating in."