Axe finally falls on JJB with abrupt loss of 2,200 jobs


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The Independent Online

JJB Sports has become the latest high street retailer to cease trading after administrators closed 133 stores yesterday, with the loss of 2,200 jobs.

The extent of the job losses and the abrupt store closures were worse than many in the City had expected.

Administrators from the accountancy firm KPMG managed to save only 550 jobs by selling 20 JJB Sports outlets to Mike Ashley's Sports Direct. There had been hopes that Mr Ashley, who owns Newcastle United football club as well as 71 per cent of Sports Direct, might have bought 60 stores, which could have saved up to 1,500 jobs. But he paid £23.8m for just 20 stores and the JJB Sports name, as well as its Slazenger Golf brand licences.

The cash will be used to pay some of JJB Sports' debt, leaving shareholders, which include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with nothing.

The JJB Sports name will cease to exist because Mr Ashley plans to rebrand the stores as Sports Direct as part of the deal.

JJB Sports' demise follows a string of other collapses, including the games retailer Game Group, fashion chain Peacocks and Clinton Cards.

Staff were left in shock as they were made redundant immediately when the administrators decided against continuing to trade in the coming weeks and the company was in effect wound up.

JJB Sports' collapse follows a golden summer for sport in Britain with the Olympic Games, but the ailing high street retailer saw sales continue to slide as it failed to adapt to the digital age.

The company raised £30m in extra funding as recently as four months ago from the US chain Dick's Sporting Goods and other investors.

JJB Sports put itself up for sale on 30 August, but there was little interest from potential buyers and the shares were suspended on 24 September, before its final collapse yesterday.