Posted 8th Jun 2018

700 design and installation roles at risk at B&Q

8th June 2018 - 08:40am
Kitchens and Bathrooms

B&Q is restructuring its kitchen and bathroom service by “simplifying” the process as well as moving away from offering installation services to its customers, resulting in 700 jobs being at risk at the Kingfisher-owned DIY chain.

The jobs at risk comprise 400 design consultants and 300 employees of B&Q’s Homefit installation service. The company said that it is also removing commission, but added that it is “creating 400 net new roles” in its stores to “provide better customer service for customers buying a new kitchen or bathroom”.

B&Q is consulting with the National People’s Forum, its employees’ representative body, about the at-risk roles. “We recognise this is a difficult time for those employees who are affected and we are supporting them in a number of ways,” said B&Q retail director Paul Crisp.

“The proposed changes will make it simpler for [customers] to buy a kitchen or bathroom as they’ll only need to deal with one person in store; they’ll shorten the lead time between booking a design appointment and delivery of a new kitchen or bathroom; and they’ll create a better shopping experience with more colleagues available to serve our customers in our kitchen and bathroom areas.”

He added: “Our intention to move away from an installation offer reflects customer preferences, with some 90% of our customers already preferring to have their kitchen or bathroom fitted by their own fitter. The changes will require a new team structure in our kitchen and bathroom areas to reflect advances in home improvement design technology and changes resulting from the move away from an installation offer.”

Crisp noted that, “should the changes go ahead”, B&Q’s current installation service will remain in place until December this year and the company will “start recruiting for the new roles immediately”.

Damian Walters, the CEO of the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation – BiKBBI – of which B&Q is an installation standards partner, noted that the announcement by the DIY chain will "no doubt be a cause for concern for those involved".

"I just want to firstly reassure B&Q’s installers, who are also members of BiKBBI by association, that we are working incredibly hard with the senior management team to identify ways in which we can support installers through this process.”

He added: "It is very clear to me that whilst B&Q have made some difficult commercial decisions, I have been incredibly impressed with their focus and support for those installers and management involved. I am more than confident we’ll be in a position to provide great support.”

In January, B&Q announced that it was reducing the size of its head office due to a “new organisational structure” that affected around 200 jobs. At the end of May, parent company Kingfisher reported a 5.4% decline in like-for-like sales for the first quarter of 2018, reflecting “weaker performance” at B&Q.

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