Coronavirus: Travis Perkins plans to shed 2,500 jobs as virus hits demand | Business News

The UK’s largest building materials group has announced plans to cut 2,500 jobs as the coronavirus crisis takes its toll on demand.

Travis Perkins, which has more than 20 businesses including the Wickes DIY chain, said it expected the looming COVID-19 recession to dent its business not only this year but also next.

The company said it planned 165 branch closures – about 8% of its total network – concentrated in its Travis Perkins General Merchant division.

It said stores most likely to be affected were small branches where it was either difficult to implement safe social distancing practices or where profit margins were already thin.

The company said that in addition to the store closures, it had also started a consultation process on roles within its distribution, administrative and sales functions.

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Travis Perkins employs over 20,000 staff across its businesses

It announced the losses while revealing a 40%

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UK house prices expected to fall despite stable demand

UK surveyors are predicting further falls in house prices in the next few months as the economy deteriorates and they expect demand to shift towards properties with access to outdoor space.

The housing market has revived since April’s low when it froze because of the closures of estate agents and the banning of house viewings. However, surveyors continue to report falling house prices with this trend expected to last in the near term, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

“Pre-Covid sales that were in the pipeline are now largely going through,” said Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist.

While this was encouraging, the health of the economy and the labour market will largely determine “how sustained this improvement will prove”, Mr Rubinsohn added.

The stabilisation in demand was visible in all the related Rics indices, which are calculated as the difference between surveyors reporting an expansion and those reporting

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English property market rebounds on pent-up demand

A release of demand for property in England, suppressed by the lockdown, pushed the number of sales agreed in early June above pre-coronavirus levels. 

Buyers returned to a market effectively shut from March 27 until May 12, data from the property portal Zoopla, estate agent Savills, and property data company TwentyCi show.

The rebound in sales was quicker than most analysts expected. But the surge in transactions — which in some segments of the market have doubled in the past week — is likely to be temporary because much of the demand came from buyers who had been forced to pause moves.

TwentyCi recorded 22,893 agreed sales in the first week of June, 6 per cent more than in the same period in 2019, and 54 per cent up on the last week of May. 

According to Zoopla, sales agreed in the first week of June were 12.6 per cent

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Coronavirus, crude demand in focus

A kayaker passes in front of an offshore oil platform in the Guanabara Bay in Niteroi, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.

Dado Galdieri | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Oil prices climbed on Tuesday, paring losses from the previous session, as markets broadly rose on growing confidence in a global recovery with pandemic lockdowns easing.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 1.3%, or 50 cents, to $38.69 a barrel at 0134 GMT, after dropping by $1.36 on Monday.

Brent crude futures rose 1.4%, or 56 cents, to $41.36 a barrel. The benchmark contract fell $1.50 on Monday, snapping a seven-day streak of gains.

“With Brent holding very nicely above $40, there’s talk among traders that WTI will test that level soon,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

New York City, the U.S. city hardest hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak, began reopening on Monday after about

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