The Office of Fair trading has cleared Kingfisher’s acquisition of 30 Focus DIY stores from the latter’s administrators .
Kingfisher will convert the shops, which it bought for about £23m, to its B&Q fascia as soon as possible and some are expected to open as soon as next month.
Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “We are looking forward to offering B&Q’s range of well priced products, services and advice to consumers in these areas, as well as bringing new investment to the local communities.
“We are delighted that we will be able to safeguard more than 600 jobs by bringing the B&Q store format to parts of the country in which we currently do not operate. I would like to thank the OFT for acting swiftly, enabling so many jobs to be saved.”
Cheshire had been pressing the OFT to make its decision promptly. He was concerned that the OFT would not make its decision before mid July, by which time administrator Ernst & Young would have had to start making redundancies at the stores.
Kingfisher can now transfer staff without them having to go through a redundancy programme first.