Workers at Crane Distribution are facing further job cuts after their Australian bosses announced dwindling profits, driven by a sliding construction sector.
Crane's stores are Mico Plumbing, Mico Bathrooms, MasterTrade and Corys Electrical. It has more than 1000 employees and 130 outlets in New Zealand.
Companies Office files show Crane had sales revenues of more than $500 million in the past.
The Australian-based Crane Group unveiled a $41 million net profit for the six months ended December 31, 6.9 per cent down on the same period last year.
Managing director Greg Sedgwick said 358 jobs were cut in the six- month period, blaming the move on the global recession.
Ninety New Zealand Crane staff were laid off in June last year. The resulting savings had softened the impact of difficult economic times in Australia and New Zealand, Mr Sedgwick said.
But more job losses were likely, Australia-based company spokesman Matthew Horan said.
"But we haven't put any numbers around it yet."
Mr Sedgwick said conditions in the housing and commercial construction markets had continued to worsen in the past six months.
Profits came under pressure as competition picked up in New Zealand. "Over the past six months, demand in the New Zealand market has further weakened.
"Given the events taking place in the broader economy, difficult trading conditions are expected to persist for some time."
Crane Distribution is a leading merchant of plumbing, pipelines, electrical and safety supplies.
Based in Christchurch, it also has offices in Wellington and Auckland.