JJB hits back at tax claim

JJB Sports headquarters at Martland Park, Wigan
JJB Sports headquarters at Martland Park, Wigan

CRISIS-hit JJB Sports has hit back at claims that its potential sale could be derailed by a multi-million pound tax scam investigation.

Reports emerged this week that the taxman was looking into allegations that the Wigan-based company had falsely charged VAT on children’s clothing, including replica football kits.

But the Martland Mill company confirmed that there was no such investigation and that the VAT error had not affected customers.

A statement read: “The HMRC provision relates to an error at the group level accounts.

“As such there was absolutely no impact on customers or the prices they paid for products whatsoever. The matter has been resolved satisfactorily and fully with HMRC.”

HMRC today declined to comment on the matter.

A spokesman also confirmed that the sale process was still ongoing for the debt-laden retailer.

In JJB’s 2012 annual report, figures of £5.3m and £676,000 had been provisioned relating to “a non-recurring matter which the group is currently discussing with HMRC.”

This had triggered fresh speculation that a new tax investigation could potentially prevent a sale. But the issue appears to have been resolved before the start of this year and JJB is optimistic of a rescue deal.

Rival Sports Direct, founded by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, remains the frontrunner.