Focus DIY collapsed into administration this morning after filing an intent to appoint administrators yesterday, as revealed by Retail Week.

Ernst & Young has been appointed administrator and is “seeking offers for the sale of the business as a going concern”.

The Range founder Chris Dawson has already expressed interest in purchasing Focus stores and stock.

Focus, which has 178 stores and employs 3,919 people, is the largest retail administration this year, and follows the collapse of Oddbins, British Bookshops and Stationers and ‘son of Woolies’ chain Alworths.

In a statement Dawson said he is “keen to do a deal which could save and create more than five thousand jobs”.

Dawson, who bought all of MFI’s stock when it went under in 2008, said he is interested in purchasing Focus’ stock and stores “if the price is right”.

He said: “It would be a deal that would create and save jobs and help the country’s economic recovery. I have a proven track record that I will do these kind of deals if people are serious and sensible”.

Ernst & Young joint administrator Simon Allport said: “Low consumer confidence and a very weak housing transaction market have impacted on Focus and placed considerable pressure on sales and margins.

“Despite management’s actions to tightly control costs and restructure the operations, unfortunately it has not been possible for the business to continue to trade outside of insolvency.”

Allport added: “Focus will continue to trade as we look for a buyer for the group and its stores. It is very much business as usual and we are grateful to all the group’s loyal customers, suppliers and employees for their continued support.”

In a statement yesterday confirming the appointment of Ernst & Young, Focus said it had taken the action following a credit default.

Focus said: “Following notification of an event of default under the senior credit facility, and a realisation that there were no alternatives that could be explored any further, Focus directors have come to the conclusion that to protect the interests of creditors they have no choice but to seek protection through filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

“The directors have sought consent from the business’s lenders to appoint E&Y as the administrators. All stakeholders including staff are being informed.”

Focus has suffered in the competetive DIY market, with larger rivals B&Q and Homebase outperforming it in the face of falling consumer spend.