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Business group blows whistle on Focus DIY

Angry suppliers have hit out against hardware giant Focus DIY amid claims that it attempted to change payment terms mid-contract.
Suppliers say they were 'bullied' by the company. The Forum of Private Business received a barrage of complaints and has written to the Office of Fair Trading and the Department of Trade and Industry about the company's actions.

The FPB also wrote to Focus DIY chief executive Steve Johnson demanding an explanation.

The pressure group is calling on small firms minister Alun Michael to crack down on the poor treatment of suppliers. It said suppliers have been threatened with losing their contracts unless they agree to the new conditions.

One firm said it was laughable that one of Focus's letters blamed the need to increase its share on distribution costs, increases to the minimum wage, utility bills, insurance contributions and fuel duty.

He said: 'The negotiations are not between equals. I am faced with having my contract rewritten mid-contract and if I don't like it then I lose the contract altogether.

'Small firms are being hit by rising costs too and find them far harder to absorb than Focus. Now we are being hit with a double whammy because the big boys are trying to pass their increased costs on to us.'