Fifth of Focus stores face axe

DIY chain sold for £1.

The future of Focus’ 50 worst-performing stores could be in jeopardy after new chief executive Bill Grimsey announced a wide-ranging review. The DIY and gardening chain has drafted Grimsey in to help revive the struggling 250-store chain and it is likely the 50 stores will be sold off or closed. Focus saw profits slip to £42.7m in the year to October 2006, with sales dropping five per cent to £700m. Private equity firm Cerberus bought Focus this week for just £1. Cerberus will pay off the company’s £174m debts and pay £40m — 40p per pound — to bondholders. Grimsey said: “Focus has the potential to become one of the most successful operators in the DIY sector. “With the resources and commitment of Cerberus, we will have the opportunity to exploit its potential in a fundamentally attractive DIY market.” The former Wickes chief executive will officially take over from Steve Johnson next month and will work alongside Bill Hoskins, Focus’ new finance director.

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