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Rapid True Value to close Newport East branch

Published:Wednesday | December 5, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Hardware & Lumber Limited (H&L) is to close its Rapid True Value store at Newport East, Kingston, come December 31, as the company continues its rationalisation programme to maximise efficiency and continue improvement in its bottom line.

"The closure comes as part of a review of the branch operations and rationalisation to maximise efficiency and use of resources," the parent company, GraceKennedy, said in a statement on Monday.

"We believe that the closure of this branch will allow for the most effective deployment of our resources to meet the needs of our customers," said Andrea Coy, chief executive officer of H&L.

The closure of the branch will result in close to 20 persons being displaced.

But GraceKennedy said that, where possible, attempts would be made to fill openings across the network with those employees.

The pending closure means that at the end of December, 10 Rapid True Value retail stores will be left in operation across the island.

Coy said customers affected by the closure of the Newport East branch will able to conduct business at Rapid True Value branches in Spanish Town and Portmore, St Catherine, as well as the Cross Roads branch in St Andrew.

Rapid True Value is the division of H&L which supplies the local market with various hardware and home-improvement products.

Over the past two years, H&L has been investing heavily in the upgrade of its chain of stores.

H&L said that as the company looks ahead, part of its focus will be to ensure that its customers' needs are met by providing a wide selection of quality home-improvement, agriculture, garden and building supplies at competitive prices.

Year to date, H&L revenue growth was led by the agricultural and the retail, hardware and household segments, which grew by 9.7 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively, when compared to the same period last year.

The wholesale segment declined by 10 per cent over the comparative nine-month period in 2011, reflecting the ongoing decline in the construction sector.

The net result for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012 was profit after tax of $14.2 million, compared to $5.4 million in 2011.

Going forward, H&L said it will continue to implement cost-saving initiatives and contain discretionary spending wherever possible.