Building materials supplier Travis Perkins is taking action to “eliminate discretionary spend” to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
In a trading update the firm said the first month of lockdown had led to an overhead cash outflow of around £50m, and it was working to “carefully manage the operating cost base”.
Travis Perkins said since late March it had been running a “service-light” operating model, with a reduced number of sites offering call and collect or delivery services to essential construction programmes, including Nightingale hospitals and national infrastructure projects.
The company said in the first three weeks of April total group revenue was around a third of that in the same period in 2019.
“Actions have been taken to reduce and carefully manage the operating cost base of the group, with all businesses taking decisive actions to eliminate discretionary spend,” said the firm.
The group, which includes Wickes and Toolstation, said it was working with suppliers, customers and trade bodies to develop safe working protocols “which can be applied across the construction supply chain to enable more activity to be carried out safely under lockdown”.
Nick Roberts, chief executive at Travis Perkins, said: “In light of the Covid-19 emergency, we have established a new operating model that has kept colleagues and customers safe, operating within government guidelines, and enabling branches across all of the group’s businesses to remain open. Moreover, we have provided essential services and support to keep the nation’s critical infrastructure maintained and operational and the UK’s homes warm, dry and safe during this time of need.
“We continue to adapt our operations, applying stringent social distancing and using technology to enable contactless operations, and we are therefore able to respond to the government’s call to ensure that the construction industry can continue to deliver on crucial programmes and projects and be an engine for future economic recovery.
“As we move forward we will continue to adjust our operations, with our foremost priority to keep colleagues and customers safe and the industry supplied with the materials it needs.”
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