Twenty jobs go as Sunderland and Durham JJB stores close

JJB Sports store on Hylton Retail park has closed
JJB Sports store on Hylton Retail park has closed
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TWENTY shop jobs in Sunderland and Durham have been lost with the collapse of national retailer JJB Sports.

Administrators from KPMG were appointed yesterday and agreed a deal to sell 20 stores to Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, saving 550 shops and warehouse jobs.

But the remaining 133 stores will be closed today, with the loss of around 2,200 posts. A total of 167 employees have been kept on to assist the administrators.

The Sunderland and Durham stores are both closing, with the loss of 10 jobs each. One member of staff at each branch will be retained.

Richard Fleming, UK head of restructuring at KPMG, said: “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 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 sale to Sports Direct, 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 eight 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 administrators have set up a 24-hour helpline for employees on 0845 3022538. Information is also available on the website: www.kpmg.com/uk/jjb.

Twitter: @SunEchoBiz

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