Landscaping manufacturers Marshalls are to close their plants at Sawley and Cannock.
The closures are part of a wider move to reduce Marshalls’ overall cost base.
The sharp downturn in the housing market has also dented sales of block and paving products in the domestic market as customers hold back from spending money on big ticket items such as driveways and patios. Marshalls sales to the domestic market were down 10% in the six months to the end of June 2008.
However, the public sector and commercial building markets are holding up well for the company, with like-for-like sales up by 9% in the first six months.
Total group turnover for the period was slightly ahead at £211m, up from £210m in the same period a year ago, although acquisitions have accounted to much of this.
Installer’s order books were running at 8.2weeks at the end of June, down from 9.7 weeks at the same time last year.
The plan is to strengthen the brand and move to maximise short term performance ‘without prejudice’ to the benefit of its longer term prospects.