Focus DIY to close after failing to find buyer as 3,000 jobs face axe

HOME improvement retailer Focus DIY is to close with the possible loss of up to 3,000 jobs, after the administrator was unable to find buyers for the bulk of its stores, it was announced yesterday.

Administrators at Ernst & Young said they had appointed retail consultants Gordon Brothers to advise on the sale of all Focus DIY’s stock with a view to shutting the chain.

The closing down sale will begin this weekend.

“While we have been successful in securing up to 900 jobs from the sale of 55 stores in three separate deals, finding a buyer for the whole of the business has not been possible,” joint administrator Simon Allport said.

“While the administrators are continuing negotiations for the sale of a number of stores across the group, the stock liquidation is likely to result in a number of Focus stores closing with remaining employees going through a redundancy process.”

When it went into administration earlier this month, Focus DIY employed 3,919 people at 178 stores.

The group – which defaulted on its credit facility –?has been suffering for years, with a weak housing market and stiff competition from the likes of B&Q, Home Retail Group and Travis Perkins.

Earlier this month, B&Q bought 31 Focus stores and rival Wickes purchased 13, but there have been no takers for the others. Geoff Cooper, chief executive of Wickes’ parent company Travis Perkins, warned that the DIY sector was “over-supplied”.