Builders FirstSource Slashes 2,600 Jobs Amid Market Downturn - Modern Distribution Management

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Builders FirstSource Slashes 2,600 Jobs Amid Market Downturn

The distributor has also enacted a handful of other cost-cutting actions as homebuilding has soured throughout 2022.

In its 2022 third-quarter earnings call on Nov. 8, Builders FirstSource executives detailed considerable job cuts at the company — No. 1 on MDM’s 2022 Building Materials/Construction Distributors List — which align with other cost-cutting actions amid a market downturn over the past several quarters.

The company told investors and analysts it slashed 2,600 jobs, and reportedly told the Dallas Morning News that the layoffs were mostly in temporary positions. CEO Dave Flitman said most of the job cuts happened at the end of this year’s second quarter and in the early third quarter. 

The company said the headcount reduction is a reaction to major declines in U.S. homebuilding, citing higher mortgage rates and affordability challenges that have shrunk the pool of available buyers.

BFS reported 3Q sales of $5.8 billion, which were up 4.6% year-over-year, with that growth figure significantly decelerating from 24.2% in 2Q and 36.1% in 1Q of this year. While sales in end markets of multi-family (7% of 3Q business) and repair & remodel/other (19% of business) improved 16.2% and 31.1% year-over-year, respectively, sales in the company’s predominant market — single-family (74% of 3Q business) — increased just 1.8%.

“Given the challenging market environment, we’ve had to take a deep look into our business and make some difficult decisions in order to continue ensuring the company is positioned for long-term growth,” BFS Senior Vice President of Investor Relations Michael Neese told the Dallas Morning News. “We believe the steps we have taken to right-size the business at this point will allow us to weather the decline in housing starts while effectively serving our shareholders, customers and our team members.”

Additionally, Builders FirstSource has reduced discretionary spending, has accelerated productivity projects, is managing variable expenses to market levels and right-sizing its network and optimizing capacity across plants and inventory yards. Flitman noted that BFS has closed redundant locations in some smaller markets, but that those footprint reductions won’t downsize the company’s manufacturing capacity.

“This work is never easy, and these are difficult decisions with respect to our respective team members, but we must be responsive to the market deceleration and best position the company to navigate this environment,” Flitman said in the earnings call. “We are proactively managing into the downturn, and we are prepared to act decisively to protect and resize the business as necessary.”

The cost cuts and downsizing come despite BFS reporting 3Q net profit of approximately $700 million that was up 20.4% year-over-year, with adjusted net profit of $800 million up 16.8%. Gross profit likewise increased 17.6% from a year earlier. The company is forecasting full-year 2022 sales of $22.5 billion to $23 billion, a 13% to 16% increase over 2021.

The market downturn certainly hasn’t deterred BFS from being aggressive on the expansion front. During 3Q, the company acquired Trussway (Houston), Fulcrum Building Group (Florida & Alabama Gulf Coast), Pima Door & Supply (Phoenix area) and Sunrise Carpentry (Phoenix area). Those deals gave BFS 13 acquisitions since its landmark merger with rival BMC Holdings in August 2020. The purchase price of those 13 deals was a combined $2 billion. BFS said it would continue its tuck-in M&A strategy going forward.

BFS has also repurchased $2 billion in shares this year.

“Our industry is clearly experiencing deceleration versus the prior year, but we are not discouraged,” Flitman said in the earnings call. “We are confident in our ability to navigate through any market environment, and we will remain proactive in implementing our downturn playbook to streamline costs and stay close to our customers and supply partners.”

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