JJB sale talks could take months

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THE POTENTIAL sale of closed JJB stores could take longer than first expected, administrators have confirmed.

The debt-laden Wigan based company went into administration at the start of the month with 133 stores nationwide closing their doors to customers, including the Robin Park outlet.

Rival retailer Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, agreed a pre-pack administration deal to take on 20 stores plus the Martland Mill headquarters, safeguarding 258 jobs.

Brian Green, of administrators KPMG, said: “We remain in active dialogue with a number of interested parties regarding the sale of both individual and groups of properties, and the JJB brand.

“We hope to be able to announce the conclusion of such deals over the coming weeks.”

The JJB brand name remains on the market as it was also confirmed earlier in the month that Sports Direct had not taken the naming rights as part of their £24m deal although they did take over the JJB website domain.

Many of the companies that were reported to be interested in agreeing a deal before administration was announced are still thought to be part of the ongoing talks, according to business insiders.

These included French sportswear retailers Decathlon and Irish retail group Stafford.

The latest companies to throw their hat in the ring were discount brand rivals B&M Bargains, 99p stores and Home Bargains.

JJB founder Dave Whelan’s DW Sports has also been linked with picking up some of the best performing outlets although no offer has as yet been confirmed.

Any JJB employees who have been made redundant as a result of the store closures are urged to contact charity The Fashion and Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) who can offer grants to affected children.

Visit www.ftct.org.uk for more details about the charity’s work.