Boots Decides That for Pounds 68m Focus Can Do It All

The Birmingham Post (England), August 20, 1998 | Go to article overview

Boots Decides That for Pounds 68m Focus Can Do It All


Pharmacy group Boots sold its West Midlands-based Do It All home improvements business yesterday to the Focus retail group in a pounds 68million cash deal.

Focus, which has its head office at Crewe, is privately owned and is aiming to establish itself behind B&Q and Homebase as the UK's third largest DIY operation.

The company plans to introduce hobby and leisure activities to the 139 stores it has acquired.

One of the main changes will involve Focus' Pet World operation with a pet store section in each of the stores.

Do It All, which has its company head office at Dudley, employs about 4,500 staff in its stores.

Focus is 40 per cent owned by its management and 60 per cent by funds under the management of Duke Street Capital, which has invested pounds 25million in Focus shares to fund the acquisition.

Boots, had rationalised Do It All to bring it back into profit but the company could not see more value being created.

Last night Mr Jim Lowe, marketing director of Focus, said: "Our most recent successes have been with Pet World within our stores which have opened them up to wider audiences.

"More people have come to the stores as families. Children like the pets section and women who would not normally have an interest in DIY have come in greater numbers."

Focus sees the acquisition as a good geographical knit with its existing operations which are mainly in the Midlands, northern England and Scotland while Do It All is in the south, south-west, south-east and Midlands.

The new operation will have about 200 stores and all of them, at this stage, will continue trading.

Mr Lowe said the former Do It All stores would undergo range and trading changes but the core would still be DIY.

"In terms of style were are centred on fast selling lines and also promoted goods and advertised lines and we are very active on what we generally call value lines. …

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