Jobs lost as Focus confirms town closure

ARBROATH’S Westway Retail Park suffered a blow last week when it was announced that Focus would be closing its store there.

It had been hoped that another company would be able to take on the store and its 21 employees, but this was not to be.

There had been some speculation that Kingfisher Plc, owner of the DIY giant, B&Q might take on the store after it emerged they had bought the option to run up to 31 of the Focus stores.

However, Kingfisher kept their list of optioned stores closely under wraps until it was revealed last week that Arbroath had not been fortunate enough to be taken on.

Neither was the store bought as part of deals with Wickes Building Materials Limited or B&M Homestore who have taken on 11 and 13 stores respectively.

Focus employed a total of 3,920 people in the UK, and those unlucky enough not to continue under the flag of another retailer will be made redundant.

Simon Allport, joint administrator said: “We have been working hard to sell the business as a going concern and to maximise value for creditors.

“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.

“UK retailers are facing one of the most challenging retail environments in recent times and the DIY sector has become highly competitive, with only the strongest players being able to thrive and survive.”

Councillor David Fairweather, whose remit covers the Westway, said: “I am extremely disappointed at the news that Focus is to close its Arbroath store.

“I understand it’s not just Arbroath that has been affected, but that it’s a national problem.

“It’s unfortunate that B&Q, who looked at taking on so many other stores haven’t decided to include Arbroath in that.

“However, I’m sure that with a big company like ASDA coming in we can attract some other retailer to take over the store.”