Around 3,000 retail jobs in the UK are set to be lost after administrators confirmed today that the remaining stock of failed retailer Focus DIY is to be liquidated.
Ernst & Young (E&Y) has been offloading the home & DIY specialist’s property portfolio since it went into administration earlier this month, but around 120 stores have remained unsold.
A spokesperson for E&Y told Retail Gazette that restructuring firm Gordon Brothers has been appointed to liquidate Focus DIY’s stock and initiate the store closure programme, although he admitted there is still hope some more outlets will be sold.
Some 55 stores have been bought by competitors since the retailer officially went into administration on May 4th, with B&Q owner Kingfisher, Wickes’ parent company Travis Perkins and B&M Bargains snapping up some of the available shops, saving hundreds of jobs in the process.
Chris Dawson, owner and CEO of home & garden products retailer The Range, initially confirmed an interest in purchasing some Focus DIY stores, but as yet has not moved to acquire any of its competitor’s floor space.
Focus DIY, which is majority owned by Cerbus Capital, collapsed because it was a weak performer in an overcrowded, slow growth market.
It fought off administration in 2009 when the retailer’s landlords agreed a company voluntary arrangement, but sales continued to struggle in the following two years.
Simon Allport, E&Y’s Joint Administrator, commented: “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.
“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.”