August 16 2019 @ 12:57 by Steven Hugill
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct group is closing a retailer’s North East store – just days after rescuing the business from administration.
Jack Wills’ outlet in Durham is shutting its doors after bosses failed to agree a deal with its landlord.
Sports Direct says it will attempt to find new jobs for affected staff.
The Durham closure, which comes after Sports Direct paid £12.75 million for Jack Wills in a pre-pack administration deal in early August, is one of eight affected stores.
Further outlets in Marlborough, Derby, Reigate, Rock, Tunbridge Wells, Kingston and St Albans are also impacted.
A spokesperson said: “Since rescuing Jack Wills from administration, we have been working hard with landlords to try and keep as many stores in the existing portfolio open.
“Unfortunately, the landlords involved with these eight stores have not co-operated.
“Where possible, Sports Direct is committed to finding new roles within the group for all affected Jack Wills staff.”
Under the terms of its deal for Jack Wills, Sports Direct took on the retailer’s near 100-strong store estate, its 1700-strong workforce, its stock and the international Jack Wills brand.
At the time, it was reported 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 January 28 2018 – the last date prior to the appointment of administrators – Jack Wills had gross assets of £98.9 million and made an operating loss, before exceptional items, of £14.2 million.