AT least six jobs will be lost as hardware chain Dahlsens changes the focus of its store at the Albury Airport Industrial Estate.
It was announced yesterday the Bennu Circuit centre would no longer sell lifestyle products, such as barbecues, plants and outdoor settings, and, instead, concentrate on the hardware trade market.
Dahlsens sales and marketing manager Farbice Boucherat declined to say how many positions would be axed but The Border Mail understands six or more jobs will be lost in moves that also affect Ballarat and Traralgon stores.
The Albury store employs 24 people. Seven jobs were lost recently when the truss and frame department moved to Shepparton.
Mr Boucherat said it had been a struggle to compete on outdoor goods.
“The market is more competitive and we can’t sustain it any more and we’ve decided to focus on the trade,” he said.
Dahlsens opened its 2400 square metre Albury store in August 2008 with a staff of 49.
Chief executive Geoff Dahlsen said at the time the enterprise was for “builders and the serious do-it-yourselfers”.
It has seen major competition from Bunnings and is also facing the prospect of a Masters hardware megastore opening in Albury.
“Those two players are becoming more aggressive,” Mr Boucherat said.
Mr Boucherat said the changes to trade, which will be evident after Christmas with a reorganised store, did not mean Dahlsens would abandon the Border.
“It’s slower compared with two years ago and the building market is slower but it is a business we serve well,” he said.
“We are committed to the Albury market and we have a store in Wodonga as well. Those two stores will stay.”
He said a big clearance sale will be held at the Albury store this month in the lead-up to Christmas.