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Tuesday 18 February 2020


Sports Direct buys Jack Wills for £12.75m

Written by Peter Walker

Sports Direct has bought Jack Wills in a £12.75 million a pre-pack administration deal.

Will Wright and Chris Pole from KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed joint administrators to the clothing retailer, with its brand and UK trading assets sold, debt-free, to Mike Ashley’s group.

As part of the deal, all 100 Jack Wills stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as the distribution centre and all 1700 employees, will transfer to Sports Direct’ new division focused solely on buying and building fashion and sports brands, reporting to Michael Murray in his role as head of elevation.

“Jack Wills will continue to operate as a separate company with its own leadership team,” Murray explained. “Our role will be to support the business and help elevate the brand and help restore it to its former glory.”

Directors are assessing options for the international arm of Jack Wills, which trades in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and 130 other countries online.

Sports Direct and Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group were both the two final bidders in the race to acquire Jack Wills, after its private equity owner BlueGem put the brand up for sale last month.

Jack Wills chief executive Suzanne Harlow commented: “Despite significant progress, the challenging trading environment led us to conclude that the company’s long-term future would be best served as part of a larger group.”

Financial statements covering the year to 28 January 2018 showed pre-tax losses of more than £14 million, on the back of sales down by 1.1 per cent to £129.3 million.

The retailer reconfirmed a £25 million revolving credit facility, a £4 million trade finance facility and a £1.8 million overdraft with HSBC until January 2021.


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