AUSTRALIA’S largest building supplies chain is facing financial problems and is under increasing pressure to cut staff and shut down operations.
Key points:AUSTRALIAN building supply giant Westfield is in crisis after it has to lay off staff and cut operations in the face of declining demandThe company has been operating in Australia for more than 100 years and is the world’s largest retailer of building supplies, including construction, furniture and home furnishingsAUSTRIA has one of the largest construction markets in the world with a large number of firms producing building materials.
“Our business is in a pretty bad spot, and we have to take some action,” said the company’s chief executive Paul Kincaid.
He said the business had already been affected by declining demand, and had lost $1 billion in the past year.
“We’ve had to make some tough decisions to get our businesses back on track,” Mr Kincadaid said.
“It’s hard to explain to people how difficult it is to go from a billion-dollar company that produces building materials, to a business that produces furniture and furnishings.”
Mr Kincadsays business had been profitable for more years than it had ever been in the history of the company.
It has been producing building material since 1885, but has never been able to make the billions of dollars that are being demanded.
“That’s been the challenge we’ve been facing for a long time, that we’ve got to find a way to sustain the business in a way that is sustainable,” he said.
Mr Kinkaid said it had been struggling to maintain the business for the past several years.
“There’s been a lot of changes and we’ve had some difficult decisions made by the management team,” he told ABC News.
“I think we’ve gone through a period of transition.”
Westfield Australia said in a statement that it had made some strategic changes to the business.
The company said it was in the process of evaluating all the options it had, and would not make further comment until it had a “better understanding of the issues”.
Westfield has faced criticism for its failure to grow in Australia and is also under pressure to layoff staff and close its doors in the state.
The Sydney-based company, which produces everything from building supplies to furniture and appliances, has a workforce of around 20,000.
Its chief executive, Paul Kinkadis, said the challenges were being felt by the broader business.
“For years we’ve done a great job in Australia,” he says.
“But I think there are some changes in the market and some changes are occurring, and some companies are seeing that, which is quite scary.”
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