Focus DIY closes unsold stores

Published:  26 May, 2011

CREWE: The administrator of collapsed Focus DIY announced the closure of its remaining 120 stores yesterday morning.

The loss-making DIY chain, owned by US private equity firm Cerberus, collapsed into administration three weeks ago, with debts of around £230m. Administrators at Ernst & Young are appointing Gordon Brothers, a specialist retail agent, to liquidate stock and shut the remaining shops.

Focus had 178 shops and employed 3,920 people when it collapsed but E&Y managed to sell 55 stores in tranches to B&Q owner Kingfisher, rival DIY chain Wickes, owned by Travis Perkins, and discount chain B&M Retail, saving some 900 jobs. A mooted management buyout led by former Focus chairman Bill Grimsey has not materialised.

An E&Y spokeswoman said the administrators would continue to try to sell the remaining stores, but closing down sales are set to start today.

Focus has blamed the recession and the housing slump for its troubles, but analysts say it has always been squeezed by the two bigger DIY chains, B&Q and Homebase, and never managed to find a niche for itself.

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