The collapse of Focus has been coming for a long time

It makes it no easier for the staff and suppliers affected, but the news that Focus has called in administrators - broken exclusively by today - has been on the cards for years. Ever since the debt-ridden business was sold to Ceberus for £1 in 2007, chairman Bill Grimsey has been valiantly coming up with various - some might say increasingly desperate - ways of keeping the business afloat, whether that was smaller stores or a CVA.

You can’t fault his commitment to the cause but the odds have always been against Focus. Being the smallest specialist player up against the might of Kingfisher’s B&Q and Home Retail’s Homebase in a cut-throat market was always going to be difficult, and it was even harder for Focus having one hand tied behind its back in the shape of its giant debt burden.

I suspect it won’t end up continuing as a going concern but the stores will be snapped up individually. Asda has already taken a few in recent months and any more with food consents will go like hot cakes.

More to follow in Friday’s magazine and online tomorrow, and you can chart the short but complex and fascinating history of Focus - which included the absorption of DIY pioneers Do-It-All and Great Mills - on Retail Week Knowledge Bank’s profile, free to Retail Week subscribers.