Bunnings has confirmed it will close seven stores by the end of the month.

The closures will affect 145 staff across the Ashburton warehouse, trade centres in Hornby and Hastings, and stores in Cambridge, Rangiora, Te Awamutu and Putaruru.

The move was first proposed on May 12 in response to the difficult trading conditions caused by the pandemic.

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The business earlier said a network review led to the decision to close the stores.

Jacqui Coombes, Bunnings NZ director said: "Our absolute priority is the welfare of the 145 affected team members.

"This news is understandably upsetting and we will be working closely with our team during the consultation period to discuss their individual circumstances, including redeployment to other stores if possible."

The closures were connected to the challenges of the recent trading environment but also took into account other considerations including lease arrangements, individual store performance and suitability of location. Some of the stores were always intended as temporary locations, it said.

"This also follows a review late last year which saw Bunnings close three of its smaller format stores at Te Aroha, Waikanae and Paeroa."

The proposed closures follow previous measures to cut the strain from the New Zealand lockdown last month by temporarily reducing salaried staff hours and pay by 20 per cent and working with landlords on rental reductions, Coombes said.

Two years ago, Bunnings was aiming to almost double revenue by 2023 and employ a further 1200 to 1500 staff.

Australian Toby Lawrance, 46, took over heading the national business from Coombes in August 2017 and said in 2018 that the target was for annual sales revenue to rise from $1.3 billion in the June 30, 2018 year to $2b by 2023.

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