No interest in JJB portfolio

Closed - the flagship JJB store at Robin Park
Closed - the flagship JJB store at Robin Park

THE future of Wigan’s last remaining JJB store remains bleak as administrators confirmed a lack of interest in the company’s stores.

In their latest progress report to creditors, KPMG stated that despite a “strong interest” from several buyers immediately after the company went bust in October, no further description of recent interest or firm offers has been detailed.

The report read: “The remainder of the leases hold no value and the joint administrators have begun a process of offering these leases for surrender.

“At the reporting date, we have offered all remaining leases for surrender.”

The report confirmed that three offers were received last year - for a total of 28 stores - but two of the parties withdrew, with only Sports Direct agreeing a deal.

Wigan’s last remaining JJB store on Robin Park has remained empty since that time.

KPMG also informed creditors of their intention to extend the period of administration after which a dissolution of the company will be sought. The report read: “It is our intention to seek approval from the court to extend the administration by 24 months to enable to distribute funds to unsecured creditors.

“It is the intention of the joint administrators to file for the company’s dissolution once all matters are resolved.”

Rival sports retailer Sports Direct - owned by Newcastle United’s Mike Ashley - agreed a £24m deal for 20 stores and the Martland Mill based headquarters.

But recent reports have claimed that more than 10 of those stores have since been returned to landlords.

A vast majority of JJB’s unsecured creditors are set to lose out on millions of pounds, including Wigan based Missing Link Communications, which is owed more than £24,000 and Express Electrical Distributors which is owed more than £500.

Former JJB boss Dave Whelan had indicated an intention to take over some of the JJB portfolio and incorporate them into his DW Sports brand. But managing director Winston Higham confirmed to the Evening Post that it is unlikely they will take on the outlet in Wigan because of their presence at the Grand Arcade in the town centre.

DW Sports is also on the list of creditors and is owed more than £70,000.