A number of businesses in the £8bn-a-year DIY market are rumoured to have requested financial information about Focus, following the review by bankers Rothschild. Private equity firms are also thought to be interested.

Grafton, the Irish-based builders merchant, which owns the Buildbase and Jackson brands, has been linked to a bid.

Focus DIY was formed in 1987 and grew to 430 stores with the acquisitions of companies such as Great Mills and Wickes. It now has 250 having sold Wickes in 2005 to Travis Perkins.

The latest move came after Focus owners Apax Partners and Duke Street Capital ordered the strategic review to tackle the DIY retailer’s £280m debt.