Focus Wickes has an 11% share of the booming home-improvement market, making it second only to the DIY giant B&Q. Its founder, Bill Archer, started in 1987 with six stores and built the chain through a series of acquisitions – first Do It All in 1998 for about £60m, and then Wickes and Great Mills for about £300m each in 2000. The company now has 430 UK stores under the two brands – Focus for enthusiasts and Wickes for professionals. They accrued sales of £1,664m in 2003, with operating profits of £116m. There has been speculation in the City that the company may float later this year.
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