Landlords save Focus

Published:  24 August, 2009

CREWE: Troubled DIY group, Focus has been given a lifeline by landlords that backed the chain's proposed Company Voluntary Agreement and preventing it from collapsing into administration.

Under the terms of the CVA, creditors to Focus will agree to accept a proportion of what the chain owes them. The retailer needs 75% of creditor support for the CVA to take effect.

The bulk of Focus's creditors are landlords and last night the British Property Federation, which represents landlords, said that the CVA would be approved in today's vote.

The Focus CVA plans for leases on empty stores be bought with two lump sums equivalent to six months' rent. Focus has 180 stores still trading and has 38 closed outlets, which cost it £12m a year in rent.

Bill Grimsey, chief executive of Focus, said: "If we weren't in recession, Focus could be making more than three times what we are today. But the flexibility of our landlords will save thousands of jobs and that's why we owe it to them to be wholly transparent."

Rupert Clarke, chief executive of Hermes and president of the BPF, said: "We hear a lot about ghost towns and that's why landlords are committed to helping their occupiers as far as they can. We all want to see a choice of fascias on our high streets, and not just one or two brands. But at the same time, landlords, like other suppliers, cannot be expected to shore up failing businesses."        

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