Sportswear retailer JJB Sports has confirmed that it is selling 20 of its stores to rival Sports Direct after the company announced the appointment of administrators KPMG. The deal, which also includes the brand and website, will save up to
550 jobs in the UK, including warehouse staff. However, the agreement does mean that the remaining 133 JJB Stores will close, resulting in some 2,200 redundancies.
ard Fleming, UK Head of Restructuring at KPMG, commented: “Successive attempts to restructure the business, both financially and operationally, have not been enough to prevent the company falling into administration.
“Unfortunately a buyer could only be found for 20 stores on a going concern basis. All staff made redundant as a result of store closures have had their arrears of wages and holiday entitlements paid in full.
“Our team of employment specialists will be supporting staff on completing redundancy forms and putting them in touch with job seeker services. We will now be reviewing what options are available for the remainder of the business, such as selling leasehold interests.”
David McCorquodale, corporate finance partner who led the sales process, added: “In spite of the severity of financial distress suffered by the business, we spoke with over 100 parties in the first few days of our appointment; with 8 trade and private equity players tabling first round bids.
“Unfortunately the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business was too much risk for most interested parties. We hope to be able to sell the leasehold interests of some of the remaining stores, which may result in re-employment of some staff.”
The net proceeds of the sale, which has not been declared, will be used to pay the retailer’s outstanding debt to its lender and other secured creditors. In addition, the administrators have set up a 24 hour helpline for employees: 0845 3022538.