COMMENT - Sad end for JJB empire

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IT WOULD appear that JJB has failed in its attempt to find a buyer meaning it is likely that the company will cease to exist in the coming days.

The news should be greeted with sadness from people in the borough, not least because hundreds of local jobs could be lost.

The company has gone from a market leader to administration in less than a decade and as founder Dave Whelan has mentioned, used to employ 12,000 people in Wigan.

The success of rivals Sports Direct and JD Sports hampered JJB after Mr Whelan sold his family’s holdings for £190m in 2007 and the financial crisis meant the company has been virtually fighting for its survival since 2008.

Let’s hope that Sports Direct, widely reported to be the frontrunner for picking off the most profitable outlets, keep JJB’s local stores open, albeit under a different guise, to save hundreds of jobs.

Unfortunately, it is perhaps unrealistic to expect the same for the Martland Mill HQ.