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Focus Tamworth Distribution Centre to close

More than 300 Staffordshire workers face the axe with the imminent closure of the region’s main distribution centre for collapsed DIY chain Focus.

Administrators Ernst and Young have ordered the closure of the 500,000 sq ft complex at Tamworth next week following weeks of uncertainty for the workforce.

The site has been run by logistics group Wincanton as part of a three-year £33 million contract with Focus.

But a Wincanton spokesman said: “Wincanton can confirm that it has received notice from appointed administrator Ernst and Young that the Focus warehouse operation in Tamworth will close on June 22, 2011.

“All affected employees have been advised that they are at risk of redundancy and Wincanton will continue to consult until the warehouse closes.

“While every effort will be made to redeploy employees to other operations within Wincanton’s network it is unlikely that positions will be found for all of them. In the meantime, Wincanton would like to thank the team at Tamworth for its ongoing dedication during this very difficult time.”

Focus store jobs throughout the region were thrown into jeopardy last month after the DIY giant collapsed into insolvency with debts of £147 million.

Administrators Ernst and Young later sold off 55 Focus stores in three separate deals but a subsequent fire sale of stock from a string of other stores – including several in the West Midlands – was ordered.

Around 120 employees at shops in Longbridge, Aldridge, Bromsgrove, Warwick, Wednesfield and Wolverhampton were caught up in closing down sales.

It is understood that letters of notice were issued to all employees at the Tamworth site on June 6 and workers were later told that the termination date was to be June 22.

Ernst and Young administrator Simon Allport said: “While we have been successful in securing up to 900 jobs from the sale of 55 stores, finding a buyer for the whole of the business has not been possible.”

Source : Jon Griffin - Birmingham

17 June 2011
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