Another raft of Jack Wills stores axed
The gradual shrinking of the Jack Wills chain is continuing with news on Thursday that another 17 of the shops are being permanently closed.
That news comes after more closures were reported earlier in the week and late last week.
Significantly, the latest list includes some major, high-traffic locations such as Bicester Village, The O2 and Lakeside, that might have been expected to be able to support profitable Jack Wills stores once the coronavirus crisis is over.
The fact that those locations aren’t seen as viable by its parent company says a lot about the state of UK fashion retailer after years of Brexit uncertainty, the migration online and now the global pandemic.
The other 14 sites are Belfast, Bristol Cribbs Causeway, Southampton, Hereford, Meadowhall, Silverburn, Plymouth, Truro, Chelmsford, Watford, Camberley, Ipswich, Leeds and Kildare.
Frasers Group bought the retailer out of administration for less than £13 million last August and closed several stores immediately. But recent announcements mean a further 31 have shut for good.
A Frasers spokesperson said: “The group has been working closely with landlords since acquiring Jack Wills to save as many stores – and livelihoods – as possible. Now faced by unprecedented uncertainty in the retail environment, these closures are inevitable, unless landlords are willing to come forward quickly and finally have meaningful discussions.”
It all seems a long way away from the time when Jack Wills was seen as a dynamic retail chain with ambitious growth plans and a hotline to what young, casualwear-focused consumers wanted from a fashion store.
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