Ipswich: 17 jobs set to be lost as Focus DIY closes

IPSWICH: Up to 17 jobs are set to go at a major Ipswich DIY store after bosses announced that the lease on the premises will not be renewed.

Staff at Focus, which is based in Orwell Retail Park, were said to be “gutted” after being told the news by a regional manager last week.

Company chiefs said the firm was in consultation with the workforce over their jobs and that efforts would be made to relocate them.

The Evening Star believes there are seven full-time and ten part-time employees at the site.

The news of the closure comes days after the Star revealed that up to 40 jobs were going at Old Orleans in Cardinal Park, which is closing down next month.

The father of one employee whose job is under threat at Focus DIY said: “They all feel gutted.

“A lot of them are at a stage where they might not get another job – some of them are over 60.

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“I think it’s disgusting, all those years my son has been there. I don’t blame Focus, it’s not their fault.”

Bill Grimsey, chairman of Focus DIY, told The Evening Star the site was not profitable and that it was a mutual decision with the company’s landlords, Glasswells, not to renew the lease.

Paul Glasswell, managing director of Glasswells Ltd, said: “Speculation of the situation and reasoning by employees is just that.

“Focus has a lease that expires shortly. The unit is planned to be refurbished during the summer and will be in use by late autumn, at which time all space will be occupied and fully staffed.”

Mr Grimsey confirmed the store would close down next month.

He added: “It’s quite simply that the lease expired at the end of March and we’re not renewing. The landlord didn’t renew it with us, it’s a mutual thing.

“Our other site in Ipswich is more successful. It was not a great place for us, it was not profitable.”

n Are you surprised at the closure? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk