JJB gets backing of another landlord

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The Independent Online

JJB Sports received a boost over the weekend when one of the troubled sportswear retailer's landlords said it would vote in favour of its controversial insolvency procedure tomorrow.

The property company Hammerson, which owns six of the shops affected by the company voluntary arrangement (CVA), said it would back the procedure that would allow JJB to close up to 89 stores and slash its rent bills to 55 per cent of current levels.

Lawrence Hutchings, the managing director for retail at Hammerson, reportedly said: "We have held extensive discussions with JJB and are comfortable that this restructuring affects all creditors equally. The opportunity to share in the upside when JJB returns to profitability is a key factor for us as we have confidence in JJB's new management team, led by Keith Jones."

A JJB spokesman said: "We see this as a demonstration of the positive discussions we have had with our landlords."

Peel Holdings, which owns six JJB stores affected by the CVA, has also pledged its support for the retailer ahead of the creditor meeting tomorrow. The 246-store retailer said last week it was asking shareholders for a further £65m of funds. It also unveiled a three-year working capital facility of £25m, but both injections will depend on creditors approving the CVA. If they don't, JJB could collapse into administration.

JJB said its like-for-like sales were down 13.5 per cent from 24 January to 13 March. But it predicted a return to "mid-teens" sales growth in the third quarter.