Two-week deadline for JJB to sort out its debt problems

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The Independent Online

JJB Sports has less than two weeks to finalise a restructuring plan to safeguard its future. The troubled sportswear retailer's management is understood to have a deadline of 5 September to submit a proposal to the board, amid dire trading figures and rising debts.

Wigan-based JJB warned in July that it needed fresh funds before the end of the year. But it had been thought the beleaguered retailer had until 29 September – the rent day for the final quarter – to put itself on a firmer financial footing. The earlier deadline suggests JJB's predicament could be more serious. But it is unclear if the time frame has been imposed by Lloyds Banking Group, the retailer's main lender, or by the group's management.

Eyebrows have been raised at the appointment of CorlissMoore & Associates – the Atlanta advisory firm that JJB's chairman elect, Bob Corliss, helped set up – to advise JJB.

Mr Corliss becomes the chairman on Saturday, but Steve Moore – a CorlissMoore colleague – is also providing JJB with advice. Lloyds declined to comment, while CorlissMoore and JJB did not return calls.

It is understood that JJB's four biggest shareholders – Invesco, Harris Associates, Crystal Amber and the Gates Foundation – are involved in the restructuring negotiations. Dick's Sporting Goods, the US retailer which owns 3 per cent of JJB, is also thought to be participating, although it has written off the £20m investment it made in the retailer in April.

A spokesman for adidas, a key supplier, said: "JJB is a key customer and we remain supportive of its efforts during this challenging period."

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