Palmer & Harvey McLane, the UK's biggest wholesaler, is to make a fresh round of redundancies, The Grocer can reveal.

Usdaw, which represents some of its employees, confirmed lay-offs had been announced, although P&H declined to comment.

"We are aware of redundancies that have been announced at P&H," said an Usdaw spokeswoman. "We have asked P&H to request volunteers for redundancy and lay off agency workers before permanent staff."

One wholesaler reported that he had been approached by a member of P&H staff who was being made redundant. "He said there were about 50 jobs going at HQ in Hove and a further 12 regional sales people around the country," said the wholesaler.

Another wholesaler said P&H was axing jobs in its buying, category management and assortment planning departments.

In September, P&H closed its alcohol distribution company Winerite in Leeds, losing 70 jobs.

Last month, documents released at the agm revealed P&H's debts had soared by £434m to more than £1bn following its management buy-out at the beginning of the year.

Sales in the year to 5 April broke the £4bn barrier for the first time, rising 1% to £4.03bn. Pre-tax profit fell £6.9m to £20.3m, but the company claimed that, excluding exceptional costs of £12.2m from the management buy-out, it would have risen to £32.5m.