Travis Perkins, Britain's biggest supplier of building materials, has today warned on full-year profit, blaming a poor performance in its plumbing and heating division which will now be reviewed.
The group, which trades from over 20 businesses, including Travis Perkins, Wickes, BSS, Toolstation and Tile Giant, also highlighted uncertainty in the outlook for 2017.
Travis Perkins' fortunes are closely tied to housing transactions and consumer confidence. Its customers range from big building firms to sole traders such as plumbers and kitchen fitters as well as consumer DIYers.
It said it plans to close more than 30 branches, affecting 600 employees, and make its supply chain more efficient, resulting in an exceptional charge of £40-50m in 2016.
The company said that core earnings for 2016 would be "slightly below" the current market consensus of £415m.
"It is still too early to predict customer demand in 2017 with certainty and we will continue to monitor our lead indicators closely," its chief executive John Carter said.
Last month rival heating and plumbing products supplier Wolseley said it planned to close about 10% of its UK branches in response to tough competition and weak trading, a move that could lead to up to 800 job losses.
Travis Perkins said underlying sales in its plumbing and heating division fell 4.1% in the third quarter.
It blamed weak demand, changing customer buying behaviours and the impact of previous government boiler replacement incentive schemes which had brought sales forward.
"The operations of the division will be fully reviewed and the outcome of the review and any associated costs will be communicated in 2017," it said.
Travis Perkins said its total group sales rose 3.4% in the third quarter, with like-for-like sales up 2%.
In August, Travis Perkins had warned that Britain's vote to leave the European Union had created "considerable uncertainty" in the outlook for the building supplies market, with sales slowing in July.