Jobs safe as sports giant takes over Wigan store

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FIFTEEN jobs have been saved after a Wigan store was snapped up by another high street giant.

Sports Direct is to buy 116 outlets of the fashion retailer Republic including the one on the town centre Grand Arcade, where it already has a presence.

The positive news comes just weeks after a series of high street chains, including HMV and Jessops, went into administration.

Grand Arcade Manager John Sanson said: “It’s very encouraging that Sports Direct has taken over the Republic shops.

“I am pleased a retailer who has been very successful in the Grand Arcade for many years has bought the chain.

“The business is apparently also planning to keep and run the brand separately from Sports Direct so it won’t be swallowed up which is also very positive news.”

Republic went into administration earlier this month after being hit by rapidly falling sales.

Joint Administrators, Ernst and Young LLP completed the sale of the business yesterday for an undisclosed fee.

The sports group - founded by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley - has purchased the brand, 116 stores and the head office in Leeds.

The move helped to safeguard more than 2,100 jobs across the UK as well as securing a future for the Republic retail brand.

Joint Administrator, Hunter Kelly said: “In what has been a very challenging time and volatile climate for retailers, it is particularly pleasing to have completed the successful sale of Republic. The brand Republic is well recognised and well respected by customers for offering quality, high fashion goods and it is a testament to its strength that Sports Direct has made this investment to secure its future.

“We are extremely grateful for the support and loyalty showed by all employees and customers during what has been an uncertain time.”

Sports Direct bought 20 shops and all the stock from Wigan-based rival JJB Sports when it went into administration last year.