Question mark over JJB store at Robin Park site

Closed - the flagship JJB store at Robin Park
Closed - the flagship JJB store at Robin Park
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WIGAN’S last remaining JJB store remains up for grabs despite confirmed deals for other outlets across the country.

As administrators continue to look for a buyer for the Robin Park outlet, it has been reported that the Martland Mill-based retail chain collapsed owing creditors a massive £210m.

JJB owed £10m to sportswear group Adidas, while Nike and Umbro were each owed £8m, according to a report filed by administrators at Companies House. Landlords were reportedly owed a further £9m, while the taxman was owed £2.9m.

The Football Association of Wales was also a creditor and was owed £600,000.

JJB Sports also owed £110m to other companies within the group. The group owed £45m to banks, including Lloyds, part of which will be repaid. However, unsecured creditors are unlikely to get anything.

Three of the 133 shops in the company’s portfolio not taken on by rival Sports Direct have been leased by value retailer B&M Bargains.

The Evening Post reported last month that rival discount stores 99p Stores, Home Bargains and B&M were locked in a bidding war for the most profitable sites.

Brian Green, of JJB administrators KPMG, said: “So far we have negotiated three lease assignments with B&M on stores in Prescot in Merseyside, Craigavon in Northern Ireland and Stevenage in Hertfordshire.

“We have also agreed 12 landlord surrender agreements. We continue to receive interest in the remainder of the portfolio and will confirm further deals as they are agreed.”

A KPMG spokesman also confirmed that the Robin Park JJB was not one of the 12 stores where landlords had terminated their lease agreements.

Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, agreed a £24m deal to take on 20 JJB stores in a pre-pack administration deal more than a month ago.

The deal has since come under investigation from the Office of Fair Trading under competition rules.

JJB’s Martland Mill headquarters was given a reprieve by Sports Direct as their buy-out agreement safeguarded 258 jobs. However, 28 staff from the Robin Park store were made redundant.

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.