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DIY chain plans job cuts

Troubled DIY chain B&Q is preparing to wield the axe on nearly a third of staff at its head office.
The downturn in consumer spending and the housing market will force B&Q to cut 400 jobs out of 1,400 at its Southampton headquarters this week.

B&Q chief executive Ian Cheshire has been conducting a strategic review of the business since taking over in June.

The outcome of this review is due this month and is expected to be known before parent company Kingfisher updates the market on trading on September 15, which many in the City fear will take the form of a profits warning.

Kingfisher declined to comment on the report that also claimed the retailer could miss current consensus forecasts in the City for its full-year profits by as much as £50 million.

As well as B&Q and Screwfix Direct in the UK, Kingfisher owns Castorama and Brico Depot in France and stores across Europe and

Asia.

The City has been softened up for bad news from Kingfisher by past updates that have shown it to be suffering from a slowdown in spending

Earlier this year, Kingfisher revealed a 16 per cent slump in quarterly

profits at B&Q and a 7.7 per cent fall in like-for-like sales because of strong competition, lower activity in home improvements and an early Easter for poor sales of kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Profits forecasts that were once as high as £694 million for the year to January 31 have now fallen to around £580 million because of the disappointing news on trading.

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