JD Sports buys back Go Outdoors for £56.5m

JD Sports has bought back its Go Outdoors business, following its administration earlier this week.

Michael Magnay and Daniel Butters of Deloitte were appointed as joint administrators yesterday, before the parent company bought the brand in a pre-pack deal for £56.5 million, via a newly incorporated subsidiary, JD Newco.

A statement explained that the outdoor clothing and equipment retailer's future viability had become “materially uncertain” after the enforced closure of stores during lockdown brought the company’s operating costs - particularly property leases - into focus.

“The terms of the property leases in Go were extremely inflexible with the stores having an average remaining period to lease expiry of approximately 10 years with upwards only rent reviews, many of which are fixed at rates above inflation regardless of the market rent in the location.”

Go Outdoors operated 67 standalone stores and an e-commerce website. JD Sports said it intends to retain the majority of the store estate and preserve as many jobs as possible, subject to flexibility in future leases being achieved.

All current employees will transfer across to the new business with their previous terms and conditions of employment preserved.

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.

“We look forward to having positive conversations with landlords and agreeing new flexible lease contracts which reflect the widely reported challenges of reduced consumer footfall," he added.

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