Bill Grimsey.

Grimsey reveals Focus strategy

Published:  02 September, 2009

CREWE: Bill Grimsey, chief executive of the trouble Focus chain defended, in a series of media interviews, the support provided by landlords for the company.

Last week landlords allowed Focus to cancel lease agreements on 38 closed stores in exchange for six months' rent upfront.

Mr Grimsey said: "With the agreement out of the way, we are going to pull up trees to grow our market share."

Mr Grimsey said Focus had maintained its share of the market, if disruption from a store reorganisation, and kitchen sales where competitors benefited from the collapse of MFI, a market that Focus does not compete in, are excluded.

His team, including former Wickes executives Richard Bird and Rob Gladwin, have developed a store format for 22 000 sq ft outlets, much smaller than most DIY warehouses: B&Q's largest is 140 000 sq ft.

Product lines have been reduced by 30% to 13 000 in the chain's 180 stores. Last year Focus launched the cheaper Payless brand and will phase out the name Focus on products this year replacing this with 'World of' ranges, such as World of Paint.

Next month, Mr Grimsey presents plans to US private equity owner, Cerberus. "I want to be able to test another dozen stores by the next golden period, starting in Easter, and then I want to roll with other stores by next autumn," he said.

He believes that the 25% sales growth and 17% profit growth ahead of the rest of the business at the company's flagship store in Harrogate, will persuade them of his reasoning. Central to his plan is to open stores in 100 locations in the UK close to B&Q sheds.

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