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Focus administrators suspend online sales

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DIY chain Focus has suspended its online sales after administrators from Ernst & Young were called in by the company.

Today visitors to the Focus website are met with a statement from the administrators and the news that orders can no longer be placed online, while orders that are yet to be delivered cannot be either released or refunded. Customers are instead asked to let the administrators, appointed yesterday, know in writing of the details of their outstanding orders.

A spokeswoman for Ernst & Young said the administrators were still “assessing the position” to find out how many online orders were outstanding.

Additinally, goods bought before May 5 can only be exchanged rather than refunded, and refunds will only be given on goods bought after that date if they are faulty. Existing vouchers can be spent in the stores though no new vouchers will be sold.

These measures apart, say the administrators, it is business as usual. In their statement, they say: “Focus has not ceased to trade and customers will be able to continue shopping at Focus stores across the UK.”

It is thought close to 4,000 jobs are at risk following the action. Focus has about 180 stores across the UK and is majority-owned by Cerberus Capital Management. The company is seen as a casualty of the UK’s weak housing market in a competitive DIY market in which rivals include B&Q and Homebase.

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