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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Staff fix needed at DIY website
Screwfix
A warehouse staff shortage has unhinged internet home improvement business Screwfix.com, part of the Kingfisher retail group.

A backlog of orders has become unmanageable after the firm opened a new warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent.

The firm will not be taking any new orders until the backlog is cleared, expected to be some time next week.

The problems follow the closure of the firm's previous Yeovil warehouse this summer with the loss of 520 jobs.

Relocation

Screwfix claims to be the UK's largest online supplier of DIY, with more than one million customers.

It supplies goods to the DIY trade and keen home improvers using catalogues, online and the telephone.

When it opened its Stoke warehouse in June, the firm said a single centre for fulfilling and dispatching orders would help it cope with a "rapid growth in business".

However, it has struggled to recruit the 550 staff it needs in its new location, despite advertising the vacancies.

The problem could last for up to a week, the company told BBC News Online.

No orders

"It's the overnight deliveries that are mostly affected," said Nigel Cope, a Screwfix.com spokesman.

Screwfix axed 520 staff when it did some DIY of its own this summer and turned its original warehouse in Yeovil into a head office.

As well as the Stoke warehouse, the firm also has a plant in Leicester.

The firm sells hand tools and power tools at trade prices, offering next day delivery at wholesale prices.

Online boom

Screwfix is a specialist division of DIY chain B&Q, which is itself owned by Kingfisher.

The firm had an annual turnover of 187m in 2002-2003

Screwfix has been championed by Kingfisher chief executive, Gerry Murphy, who has predicted a bright future for this type of shopping.

Screwfix provides special order facilities offering customers the choice of shopping without visiting a B&Q store.

B&Q had sales of nearly 4bn last year, 10% up on the previous year.




SEE ALSO:
Ex-warehouse is new company HQ
07 Jul 04  |  Somerset
Kingfisher upbeat after overhaul
17 Mar 04  |  Business
1,000 warehouse jobs at risk
29 Jan 04  |  Somerset


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