With 13% of the booming home-improvement market, Focus Wickes is 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 Crewe company now has 433 UK stores and had sales of £1,585m in 2002, when it employed 15,864.
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