August 6, 2019 @ 12:20 by Steven Hugill
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has rescued clothing retailer Jack Wills from administration in a £12.75 million deal.
As part of the agreement, Sports Direct takes on 100 Jack Wills UK and Republic of Ireland stores, its 1700-strong workforce, its stock and the international Jack Wills brand.
It is understood the company will be housed in a new division at Sports Direct that will focus on buying and building fashion and sports brands.
According to latest results for the year ended 28 January 2018 – the last date prior to the appointment of administrators – Jack Wills made an operating loss, before exceptional items, of £14.2 million.
Sports Direct’s move marks another chapter in the business’ policy of taking on struggling companies.
It previously spent £90 million to buy House of Fraser out of administration, though Mr Ashley last month admitted to regrets over the deal, warning more stores will close in a bid to wrestle it from a “terminal” decline.
Speaking about House of Fraser’s struggles, Mr Ashley said it is, at present, a “very bad” business, which has suffered from “serious underinvestment.”
He added its agonies have been amplified by a culture among its former management team that “exemplified city greed and excess.”