Martlesham Heath: Closing down sale to start at Focus DIY

MARTLESHAM HEATH: A closing down sale at the Focus DIY store on the Beardmore Park retail estate is to start at the end of this week.

No closure dates have been confirmed, but the administrators appointed at the troubled retail chain earlier this month announced yesterday that closing down sales will begin at all 178 of its stores to coincide with the extended Bank Holiday weekend.

The administrators, from accountancy firm Ernst & Young, said they had been unable to find a buyer for the business as a going concern, although efforts would continue to sell individual stores.

A total of 55 Focus stores have been sold since the company went into administration, to rival DIY groups Kingfisher and Travis Perkins and discount homewares retailer B&M Bargains, potentially safeguarding up to 900 jobs.

Travis Perkins is to acquire 13 of the stores, which it plans to rebrand under its Wickes format, retaining all 345 staff, and B&M is to buy 11 branches, securing 211 jobs.

Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, is to acquire 31 Focus stores but it has said that staff will have to reapply for their jobs.

According to the administrators the Martlesham Heath store has a workforce of 27 but their prospects are unclear as Ernst & Young has declined to reveal the identity of any of the stores sold, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.

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Nationally, around 3,000 people are likely to lose their jobs as a result of yesterday’s announcement. Simon Allport, joint administrator, said that employees facing redundancy would be offered support and advice.

“We would like to thank all Focus DIY employees for their continued support in what has been a difficult and uncertain time,” he added.

Focus has been hit by low consumer confidence and a weak housing market, affecting its sales and margins.

Customers with queries about outstanding orders should call 0800 436436 (free phone) or email .

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