Brakes is proposing to close its Thorpe and Coventry depots, with the hundreds of employees who worked there facing redundancy.
Brakes said it is anticipating a reduced market and a lengthy recovery period. CEO Hugo Mahoney said: “It is a saddening and troubling time for the industry, and we need to be realistic about both the short and long-term impacts.
“While the COVID-19 crisis and downturn has caused us to act now, our goal has been and remains to be a strong, resilient partner to our customers, and we have therefore proposed a number of changes to ensure that we can continue to be able to deliver a service that meets their current and future needs. This builds upon the significant investments we are making in our service network, systems and processes with the support of our parent company Sysco.
“The business has taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, launching successful initiatives such as the government care packages to the shielded vulnerable, supply to retail and convenience chains, and new direct-to-consumer services through call & collect and click & deliver, and advances in the health & care sector. However, although demonstrating our agility and responsiveness to the national need, they are not a replacement for the business lost by the closure of the hospitality sector and the assumed recovery period.
“We know that this will be very disappointing news for the colleagues who are affected, and we will do our utmost to support them through this difficult time.”
Mahoney added: “None of these changes will adversely affect our service to our customers, and we are developing a package of support to ensure our customers can be up and trading quickly and efficiently.”
As Brakes has now entered a period of consultation with colleagues affected by the proposals, it will not discuss details until the process is concluded.