Third-largest DIY retailer sold to pay off debt
Focus Wickes Group has sold the Wickes chain to Travis Perkins in a cash deal worth£850 million. Wickes is the third-largest player in the DIY sector, with 172 stores and total sales of£911 million for the fiscal year ending October 31 this year. The group will use the proceeds of the sale to get rid of a£286 million debt. Following the sale, which is conditional on shareholder approval and Office of Fair Trading clearance, Focus Wickes will be renamed Focus.

Focus Wickes chief executive Bill Archer said: 'We have successfully transformed the performance and scale of the Wickes business since acquisition four years ago. The two divisions are both well placed to continue their development with separate organisations. DIY continues to be a resilient market.'