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Jobs saved as Wickes buys 13 ex-Focus DIY stores

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Failed retailer Focus DIY has sold 13 of its stores to builders’ merchant and DIY trader Travis Perkins, owner of Wickes, it was confirmed today.

Approximately 345 jobs have been saved by the deal for the leasehold properties, which cost £8.4 million and will see the outlets converted into Wickes stores.

Travis Perkins is the latest to acquire a section of the Focus DIY portfolio after retail group Kingfisher purchased 31 stores for its home & DIY arm B&Q earlier this month shortly after administrators were appointed.

Geoff Cooper, CEO of Travis Perkins, said: “The acquisition of these 13 stores, cherry picked from over 100 potential locations, further expands our Wickes business and will help us to continue our gains in like-for-like and total market share.

“We welcome the colleagues in these stores into our group and look forward to these stores trading successfully in the Wickes format.”

The store conversions are expected to be completed before the end of 2011, bringing Wickes’ portfolio up to 216 outlets, and Travis Perkins predicts them to be earnings enhancing in 2012.

Focus DIY had been suffering from being a weak player in a slow growth, highly competitive market for some time, having sold six stores to Asda as early as February, but continued poor consumer spending forced the business to seek insolvency.

Simon Allport of Ernst & Young, joint administrator for Focus DIY, said: “We are delighted to secure a sale for these stores and to save the jobs of all 345 associated employees.

“We continue to trade from all 178 Focus stores in the UK an are in detailed discussions with a number of interested parties to seek further sales across the store portfolio.

“Since the date of the administrators’ appointment stores have been trading at record levels as we have been able to offer very competitive prices across the full product range. We are grateful to all the group’s loyal customers, employees and suppliers for their continued support.”

Published on Tuesday 17 May by Editorial Assistant

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