Focus fights falling market with launch of value range

Focus DIY has launched its own-brand value range to combat the retail downturn.

The launch of Payless follows a "war council" at Focus, which found the market has declined by 10 per cent compared with last autumn because of the poor housing market and rising inflation.

Chief executive Bill Grimsey said "dramatic market challenges" meant £20m of savings had to be made by shutting the Severnside distribution centre and cutting store and support-centre costs through redundancies.

"This could make us the Lidl of DIY/garden centres. We have a great opportunity to dominate the gar-den centre business in DIY stores."

The range will include 1,000 products. Around 200 launched last week. These include compost at £2.99 for 50 litres. Trowels are 99p and forks and spades £5.99. Commercial director Gary West said bedding fitted Payless well. Focus has cut stock-keeping units by one-third.

The Chameleon agency branded the products with the old Do It All trademark "Payless".

Krow Communications is Focus' new creative advertising agency and is using lines such as "screw recession" and "smash cuts".

The brand is designed to bring in 20 per cent of Focus sales.

Brand director Richard Bird said new stores at Wymondham, Caerphilly and Woking will launch in December and next January.

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