Wickes to pursue 250-store target

Wickes is hoping to almost double the size of its chain in a battle of the DIY giants. The group believes there is huge potential for expansion.

The DIY business, part of Focus Wickes, has 138 stores, but Wickes managing director Richard Bird said that the chain is planning to ramp up its expansion programme and have around 250 stores in the next few years.

Bird would not put an exact time frame on the growth, but said that he hopes to reach 200 in the next four or five years.

Focus Wickes is reviewing its entire property portfolio across both the Focus and the Wickes brands.

Bird said that at least five more Focus stores will be switched to the Wickes fascia following four conversions earlier this year, which generated good sales uplifts.

Bird said: 'Wickes stores work in densely-populated urban locations and are quite resilient against the competition, while Focus work as local market stores.'

Bird said the Focus Group is planning to roll out more of its dual-brand 9,290 sq m Focus Wickes Warehouse category-killing stores following a trial store at Glasgow in September last year.

Retail Knowledge Bank research director Robert Clark said: 'Wickes is a good business and in the past, B&Q have cast envious eyes at them because of how they command the heavy end. There's a lot of potential for Wickes and that sort of expansion would give them full reach (across the country).

'The group should concentrate more on the Focus fascia, which is in danger of getting squeezed in the middle ground between B&Q and Homebase.'