* Stores to be sold off by administrators
* No return for shareholders in company
* JJB is latest British retail failure
By Karen Rebelo
Sept 24 Debt-laden British retailer JJB Sports
Plc said on Monday it was appointing administrators to
sell its assets and brands after failing to receive an offer for
the entire company, threatening thousands of jobs.
A familiar sight on Britain's high streets with about 180
stores and 4,000 employees, JJB has been battling falling sales
and stiff competition from larger rival and aggressive
discounter Sports Direct International Plc.
Sports Direct is seen as a potential bidder for some JJB
JJB is the latest high-profile retail failure in
recession-hit Britain after outdoor goods company Blacks Leisure
and discount fashion chain Peacocks went into administration
earlier this year.
The company, which put itself on the block on Aug. 30, said
it expects to announce that it has sold its assets and brands
within the next few days. Shareholders will not get any return
on their investment.
"The next announcement of the actual appointment (of
administrators) will coincide with a sale of the company," a
spokesman told Reuters.
Stores remain open pending a sale but it is not clear how
many of them will survive or the impact on employees.
"At the moment they all remain employed as before, there is
no major change at the moment, but it obviously depends on what
announcement ... in terms of the sale, in terms of how many
stores and various aspects," the spokesman said.
Speculation that JJB could head towards administration was
sparked after a key shareholder, U.S. retailer Dick's Sporting
Goods, wrote off its recent 20 million pound ($32.51
million) investment in the company.
Wigan-based JJB has revamped its top management in recent
months, including the appointment of a new chief executive and
the hiring of turnaround specialist Robert Corliss as its deputy
The company, which has been reporting losses since 2009,
also said sales this year were hit by unusually wet weather in
April and June in Britain.
Its shares, which were valued at roughly 300 pence each
about three years ago, have lost virtually all their value to
close at 0.4 pence on Friday.
JJB's shares, which were suspended on Monday, will remain
suspended until a further announcement about the administration
process from the company.