JJB closes town centre branch

The closed down JJB Sports shop in the Grand Arcade

The closed down JJB Sports shop in the Grand Arcade

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WIGAN-based sports retailer JJB has been forced to close down one of its big local stores as part of its company voluntary arrangement which was announced last year.

The closure of its Grand Arcade branch means that there is now no town centre presence for the business, formally owned by Latics chairman Dave Whelan.

When the CVA was announced, the business had 246 stores and planned to close 43 by April this year, plus a further 46 by April 2013, if performances didn’t improve.

A spokesperson for JJB spoke only to confirm Wigan’s Grand Arcade store was one which has closed this month in a bid to save money.

No indication was made as to what the future holds for the staff members who were employed at the branch which held a large unit on the first floor of the shopping centre.

The company’s final day of trading was Sunday, June 24 with the staff finishing four days later on the Thursday. The company’s Robin Park branch is the final store standing across the whole borough.

At one point, when Mr Whelan was at the helm, there was a total of four local outlets: two in Wigan town centre as well as the Robin Park and Soccerdome stores – and another two based in Leigh.

Grand Arcade manager John Sanson says that he is hoping to have the empty unit filled sooner rather than later but added he was sad to lose JJB.

He said: “We are sorry to see them close down.

“They have been a big part of Wigan and the Grand Arcade since we opened.

“We knew their plan so it is no huge surprise.

“We are working on getting in there sometime soon, hopefully we can get something sorted in the coming weeks but I am not in a position to mention whether or not we have anyone interested.”

Before closing, the store slashed prices with 50 per cent off a number of items.