Do It All

Do It All was a British DIY and home improvement retailing company. It went through a number of changes of ownership. In August 1998, the business was sold to Focus DIY, which entered administration in May 2011, with all stores closing by July 2011.


WHSmith acquired the business of LCP 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 WHSmith 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. This was such as plywood and chipboard. All stores had an inhouse timber cutting service, and all but the smallest had in store concessions. This was such as the store in Bury, Greater Manchester, which included floorspace for Harris Carpets.

During the 1980s, fierce competition, and the choice to not acquire new stores, saw the chain struggle. In 1988, it was merged with the rival Payless DIY chain, owned by the Boots Group. One example of their lack of new store acquisition, was their choice to not take space in the newly opened Merry Hill Shopping Centre, based upon the belief that trading out of a location in Netherton, and Brierley Hill was the better option.

One further example of this flawed policy, relates to a site in Christchurch, Dorset. Opposite the huge Somerford housing estate at the eastern end of the Christchurch bypass, was a small industrial estate. One of the companies located there, Revvo Castors, closed, and the site was offered to Do It All.

Their analysis of the site was that it would not be profitable, based upon the assertion that; "people in council houses do not spend money on DIY". That site was subsequently developed by Great Mills, and it became far and away their most successful store. Other similar, ill-considered decisions resulted in them falling far short of the expansion rate achieved by B&Q, which ultimately was a significant cause of their downfall.

The combined group, in which WHSmith and Boots both had 50%, represented, by them of each owning an ordinary share in the company. It was rebranded under the Do It All brand. Fortunes did not improve, however. On 12 June 1996, after periods of substantial losses. WHSmith sold their share in the company to Boots for a £1 gift voucher, giving the latter full ownership.


On 20 August 1998, Boots, wanting to concentrate on its core pharmacy businesses, sold the 139 stores to Focus DIY for £68 million. The stores were initially rebranded under the Focus Do It All name, the first stores being converted being in February 1999, before being rebranded again in 2001, as simply Focus, following the company's December 2000 acquisition of Great Mills, whose stores had already been converted under "Focus (For DIY & Gardening)".

In September 2000, Focus DIY acquired Wickes, and some former Do It All stores were converted to Wickes, mostly in areas felt to be outside the core market. After 2001, the Do It All name vanished from high streets, shopping malls and retail parks. In December 2004, Focus sold Wickes to builders' merchants Travis Perkins. The sale was completed in February 2005.

In September 2008, the Payless DIY brand was revived, as part of Focus DIY's autumn advertising campaign "Do More, Payless".