34 to lose jobs after Focus DIY stores shut

TWO do-it-yourself stores in south east Northumberland are set to close within months, leaving their 34 staff without jobs.

Administrators were called in after Focus collapsed last month with debts of about £230m, but closing dates for the DIY chain’s Cramlington and Ashington stores have yet to be announced.

Many branches in the Focus group, including the cut-price No Frills store in nearly Benton, will close this month after the firm confirmed that around 3,000 jobs will be lost nationwide.

Buyers have been found for only 55 of its 178 shops across the country.

The sale of some branches to rivals B&Q and Wickes has saved an estimated 900 jobs, but the future looks bleak for the 19 workers at the Ashington store and 15 at Cramlington.

Simon Allport, of administrator Ernst and Young, said: “Employees have been offered appropriate advice throughout the redundancy process, and Jobcentre Plus representatives are providing support to help find future employment.

“We are continuing to seek proposals for all unsold stores and remain hopeful of preserving further jobs.

“We would like to thank all Focus employees for their continued support in what has been a difficult and uncertain time.”