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Focus disputes claims that 'cash is tight'

Published: 9 February 2010
Home improvement retailer plays down reports that it is struggling and has been forced to ask for a payment holiday on rent.
Focus disputes claims that 'cash is tight'
Focus DIY has denied allegations that it is in financial strife after a report in The Times implied that poor January sales had left it without enough money to pay the rent - "forcing" the DIY chain to ask landlords for a seven-day payment holiday.

According to The Times, Focus is "exercising a clause in its company voluntary agreement (CVA), giving it up to a week's leeway in paying landlords". The report attributed the decision to heavy snowfall and a drop in takings across the 181-strong DIY chain.

The story continued: "Focus' request for a rent holiday suggests that cashflow is still tight at the chain" and added that the move had "enraged some landlords".

Speaking this morning, Focus ceo Bill Grimsey assured DIY Week that the retailer was still in good shape and stated: "we are paying our landlords to agreed terms."

Retailers across the country suffered badly as a result of the snowfall last month, with the British Retail Consortium declaring sales growth in January 2010, the worst in 15 years. UK retail sales values fell 0.7% on a like-for-like basis compared with January 2009.

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