Jun 21, 2020
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JD Sports 'to put Go Outdoors into administration', has restructure plans

Jun 21, 2020

JD Sports may be one of the most successful retailers in the UK, but it's not immune to problems linked to the coronavirus crisis and on Saturday it was reported that it's to put its struggling Go Outdoors chain into administration.

Outdoor lifestyles have been off the agenda for UK consumer during the lockdown, devastating Go Outdoors' sales

The 67-store chain, which employs 2,400 people, specialises in an outdoor lifestyle and sells a wide range of equipment, as well as clothing. It has been struggling for some time, despite the parent company having worked hard to ignite a turnaround at the business.

News that it's to call in administrators was reported by Sky News, and early on Monday JD said it “can confirm that it has considered a number of strategic options for Go and that Go's directors have lodged the Notice in Court. This Notice creates an immediate moratorium around the company and its property which lasts for 10 business days. During this moratorium, Go's creditors cannot take legal action or continue with any existing legal proceedings against the company without the Court's permission. Administrators have not yet been appointed and the Group will make no further comment at this time”.

Meanwhile Sky reported that sources said JD has canvassed interest from potential buyers in recent weeks. However, it also said JD seems keen to retain a slimmer version of the business with a restructuring likely and a number of its 60+ stores likely to close.

JD Sports acquired the business for £112 million in 2016, but it's not turned into the cash cow it might have hoped and the government-mandated store closures of the last few months have simply piled more pressure onto it. Not only that, while the lockdown may have boosted online sales of loungewear and some sports pieces like running shoes and yogawear for JD Sports itself, unfortunately clothing, footwear and accessories for an outdoor lifestyle has been the last thing on anyone's minds in recent months.

Assuming the report of the administration filing plan is correct, it becomes the latest in a long succession of companies to go into administration due to the pandemic. They include a variety of very different fashion and general merchandise businesses such as Cath Kidston, Debenhams, Monsoon Accessorize, Laura Ashley, Victoria's Secret UK, and Oasis/Warehouse. There have also been CVAs for AllSaints and Poundstretcher.

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