Struggling DIY chain Focus is exploring “all avenues” as it seeks to shake off the £12m-a-year strain its 20-plus closed stores are putting it under.
Focus is considering several restructuring possibilities to shed the onerous leases, including a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) or pre-pack administration. It has hired the same KPMG team that successfully completed JJB’s CVA in May in order to “examine strategic options”.
Focus chief executive Bill Grimsey said that the consideration of a CVA “is part of a whole load of scenario planning”. He said if a CVA was carried out, it would be a “property thing only”, adding: “We would not attempt to alter our relationships with any of our suppliers.”
Focus has been hampered by the cost since Cerberus bought the business in 2007. It closed 50 non-performing stores and hired property agency Harvey Spack Field to sell the shops but has yet to offload 20 to 25 of those. The agency continues to negotiate with the landlords of these stores to surrender the leases.
Grimsey said rent quarter day – which fell on Wednesday – did not affect Focus as many of its shops had switched to monthly payments.
He added that sales are “ahead of budget” and talks with Focus’s banks got off to a “positive start”.