Loss-making Waverley TBS is to axe 220 jobs and 12 depots as part of restructuring plans shown to The Grocer this week.

The drinks wholesaler broke the news to staff earlier this month. "Our cost to serve is too high, our business too complex, we aren't differentiated and our business is running at a loss," it said, justifying the radical changes.

The restructuring will involve the loss of 420 jobs and creation of 200 elsewhere in the business. As well as closing more than half its depots, Waverley will reduce its truck fleet.

Three depots in Park Royal, Newbury and a C&C in Colchester are to close outright. Nine other depots will close but will be replaced by stockless 'transit points' in the same town, employing fewer staff.

Waverley will also centralise telesales at its RDC in Felling, while its customer support and sales operations will be centralised to its Hemel Hempstead RDC.

The wholesaler is currently in consultation with staff and aims to complete the restructuring by August. It has already cut 65 jobs as part of a sales restructuring announced last August. It blamed its poor performance on the declining fortunes of pubs, which are its core customer group.

"It is well documented that the drinks sector continues to face considerable challenges and our business has to evolve to remain sustainable and competitive," said MD Jonathan Townsend. "The outcome of the review in no way reflects on the performance of affected colleagues who have done an excellent job over the past few years in a very challenging market."

The distributor, owned by Heineken, made a pre-tax loss of £21m in the year ending December 2008, according to the most recent accounts from Companies House. It attributed the loss to an exceptional charge of £14.9m following a "review and restructuring of the business". Turnover fell 9% to £526.2m.

Last month the company promoted commercial director Townsend to MD. Previous MD Gordon Johncox left in September after less than a year.