All Focus staff keep their jobs

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DIY chain B&Q has pledged to keep the 16 Focus staff at the Spalding Holland Market store which is due to close tomorrow.

But yesterday morning staff were still in the dark as they were awaiting official confirmation from administrators Ernst and Young that their jobs are safe.

A spokesman for B&Q said her company could not give staff the good news because B&Q does not take over officially until Monday.

A press officer for Ernst and Young said he would find out why staff hadn’t been told.

As the Focus closing down sale continued, there were signs on shelves appealing to customers to be understanding towards staff who would be losing their jobs when the store closed.

Kingfisher, B&Q’s parent company, announced on May 6 that following the appointment of administrators at Focus and Do It All it had agreed to buy up to 31 leasehold properties for £23million in cash.

B&Q says it will bring “a fresh offer, investment and jobs to the local community” when it opens in Spalding.

It says stores will be transferred to the B&Q format as soon as possible and some will open as early as next month.

B&Q chief executive officer Martyn Phillips said: “We are delighted that the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) has acted swiftly, meaning we will be able to bring new investment to communities like Spalding and safeguard more than 600 jobs nationally.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Focus employees to B&Q and to becoming part of communities that we haven’t previously operated in.

“We’re on a mission to make DIY easier and more accessible for everyone and can’t wait to bring B&Q’s range of well priced products, services and advice to your local community.”

l B&Q is Europe’s biggest home and garden centre retailer and the world’s third largest. It has 360 stores in the UK and is visited by three million customers each week.