Newcastle owner Mike Ashley saves jobs at Sunderland store

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MAGPIES owner Mike Ashley has helped save jobs at a Sunderland store.

More than 100 Republic branches nationwide, including one in The Bridges, have been snapped up by a subsidiary of the Newcastle United boss’ Sports Direct group.

Administrators Ernst and Young have completed the sale of the business including the brand, 116 stores and the head office in Leeds, helping to safeguard more than 2,100 jobs across the country.

Joint administrator Hunter Kelly said: “In what has been a very challenging time and volatile climate for retailers, it is particularly pleasing to have completed the successful sale of Republic (Retail) Limited, saving 2,100 jobs across the UK high street and at its Leeds-based headquarters.

“The brand Republic is well recognised and well respected by customers for offering quality, high-fashion goods and it is a testament to its strength that Sports Direct has made this investment to secure its future and high street presence.

“We are extremely grateful for the support and loyalty shown by all employees and customers during what has been an uncertain time, and would like to thank everyone at Republic for their commitment and hard work during the administration process.”

The business began as a men’s denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand in Leeds and carries a range of well-known brands to young adults, including Jack Jones and SoulCal. The chain collapsed into administration a fortnight ago with 150 staff losing their jobs at its Leeds headquarters.

Ernst & Young has set up a telephone helpline and email address for customers with inquiries. Call 0113 298 2450 or e-mail

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