Wigan jobs hope after Go Outdoors buy-back

JD Sports has bought back its Go Outdoors business for £56.5m after pushing it into administration.
Go Outdoors in Caroline Street, Wigan. The retailer was bought by JD Sports in 2016Go Outdoors in Caroline Street, Wigan. The retailer was bought by JD Sports in 2016
Go Outdoors in Caroline Street, Wigan. The retailer was bought by JD Sports in 2016

It said the move will "preserve as many jobs as possible" at the troubled retailer, which sells waterproof clothing, bikes and camping products and has a major outlet in Wigan.

However, JD Sports said it will push forward with a major restructuring of Go Outdoors, which employs 2,400 staff, and intends to "retain the majority" of its retail stores.

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The retail group hired administrators from corporate finance firm Deloitte earlier on Tuesday after it saw sales hammered by the coronavirus crisis.

JD Sports said it considered potential options for the chain, which has 67 stores, in May, including a potential sale.

However, it said it determined that the business had a potential future within the wider group "if fundamentally restructured".

JD Sports added that all existing staff will be transferred as part of the pre-pack administration sale.

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Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: "As a consequence of Covid-19, Go Outdoors was no longer viable as previously structured and would have absorbed capital at an unsustainable rate for the foreseeable future.

"Having investigated all available options for the business, we firmly believe that this restructuring will provide Go Outdoors with a platform from which it can progress whilst remaining a member of the Group.

"Most importantly, we are pleased that it will protect the maximum number of jobs possible."

Michael Magnay, joint administrator, said: "Like many high street retailers, Go Outdoors Ltd has been seeking to address a number of underlying business challenges in the current UK retail environment, which have been exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19.

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"This successful sale will provide Go Outdoors with an opportunity to restructure its business to secure its future for the long term.

"I'm particularly pleased that we have been able to secure the employment of all the Company's workforce, and we'd like to thank all employees and key stakeholders for their support throughout this process."

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