DIY group Focus has identified 100 sites around the country for new stores as it develops a chain of smaller neighbourhood shops.

The retailer, which primarily operates 25,000 to 30,000 sq ft sheds on retail parks, is considering opening shops as small as 15,000 sq ft. It has not ruled out opening on high streets “if the site is right”.

Chief executive Bill Grimsey said: “We believe the key to the future will be new sites in a smaller format. 100 locations have been identified and the new Genesis format will work well in them.”
Numis analyst Nick Coulter said the smaller format could prove to be a “significant development” in the DIY market. “Focus will increasingly prove a thorn in the side of the other three DIY majors,” he said.

Grimsey said he is looking at “small towns and urban areas between the big sheds”. However, there is no plan for an immediate roll-out. “We’re still coming out of a recession,” Grimsey said.
In August Focus creditors supported a CVA, which resulted in the retailer getting out of leases on 38 non-trading stores. Grimsey said relationships with landlords were “excellent” and that the 180-store retailer is “trading ahead of expectations and ahead of last year”.