Do It All
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WH Smith acquired the business of L.C.P. Home Improvements Limited on 31 December 1978. The acquired company, which had been formed in December 1963, was renamed W.H. Smith Do It All Limited on the same date and traded thereafter as WH Smith Do It All. LCP Homecentres, as the trading company was branded, was itself the product of a merger between two DIY chains, Big K and Calypso which were bought by LCP, Lunt Comley & Pitt as a cash generator for their industrial group, which had been formed following the nationalisation of the coal mines.
Do It All sold a range of over 25,000 DIY products including paint, wallpaper, tools and power tools, and construction materials such as plywood and chipboard. All stores had an in-house timber cutting service and all but the smallest had in-store concessions, such as the Bury (Lancashire) store (a new build, replacing the inherited LCP premises) which included floorspace for Harris Carpets.
Fierce competition in the 1980s and the complete lack of any positive new store acquisition policy saw the chain struggle, and in 1988 it was merged with the rival Payless DIY chain, owned by the Boots Group. One example of their short-sighted acquisition policy was their refusal to take up space on the newly opened Merry Hill Shopping Centre, based upon the misguided belief that trading out of an ancient and decrepit building in Netherton and a small High Street store in Brierley Hill was the better option. Numerous similar examples of this lack of business acumen resulted in them falling far short of the expansion rate achieved by B&Q; a policy which ultimately was a significant cause of their downfall.
A further cause of their failure was the habit of the parent company WH Smith dumping unwanted senior management of their own on this new business in the misguided belief that simply throwing money and incompetent staff at the business was a guarantee of success. For years the business suffered from adequate funding, but appalling senior management, which resulted in poor profits, slow expansion and low morale.
The combined group - in which WH Smith and Boots both had a 50 per cent share - was re-branded under the Do It All brand. Fortunes did not improve, however, and in June 1996, after periods of substantial losses, WH Smith sold their share in the company to Boots for a £1 gift voucher, giving the latter full ownership.
In August 1998 Boots, wanting to concentrate on its core pharmaceutical businesses, sold the 139 stores to Focus (DIY) Ltd for £68 million. The stores were initially rebranded under the Focus Do It All name, before being rebranded again in 2001 as simply Focus, following the company's acquisition of Great Mills (whose stores had already been converted to the "Focus for DIY and Gardening" brand).
After Focus DIY acquired Wickes in September 2000, some former Do It All stores were converted to the Wickes format, mostly in areas felt to be outside the Focus core market. Focus later sold Wickes to builders' merchants Travis Perkins.
In 2008, after 18 years, the Payless DIY brand was restored by Focus as part of their autumn advertising campaign "Do More, Payless".
In 2013, a King's Lynn-based company, Do It All Limited (no. 08183314) registered a trademark with the UK patent office (no. UK00003022291) which has echoes of the now-dead trademark previously registered by the original company.
- Cope, Nigel (1996-06-12). "WH Smith pulls out of Do It All at cost of pounds 63m - Business, News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
- "Do It All sale costs Boots pounds 312m - Business, News". London: The Independent. 1998-08-20. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
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