Plumbing and builders’ merchant chain Wolseley confirmed a 2.9% fall in UK revenue today as it continued with plans to shut 80 branches and a major distribution centre laying off up to 800 staff.

The firm unveiled the UK streamlining strategy in September which will cost £100m.

An Interim Management Statement today for the three months to October 31 2016 showed UK revenues for the quarter were 2.9% down on last year at £499m while trading profit dipped £2m to £17m.

Group wide revenue was up 5.2% at £4,369m with trading profit ahead 21.2% at £303m.

The company said: “Like-for-like revenue in the UK was 2.9% lower than last year. Repairs, maintenance and improvement markets remained weak.   Despite very competitive markets gross margins were ahead of last year and trading profit of £17 million, was £2 million behind last year. Employee consultation regarding the turnaround and repositioning strategy announced in September is underway.”