JD Sports buys back Go Outdoors after pushing it into administration

JD Sports has bought back its Go Outdoors chain for £56.5m after putting it into administration.

The move will “preserve as many jobs as possible”, JD Sports said, with a major restructuring plan aimed at retaining the “majority” of stores.

Go Outdoors sells camping, fishing and cycling equipment and employs about 2,400 staff.

On Saturday, Sky News had exclusively revealed that Go Outdoors was on the brink of administration – four years after retail giant JD Sports Fashion first bought it for £100m.

Sky’s City editor Mark Kleinman said then that JD was expected to use an insolvency process to restructure the chain, which trades from 67 shops.

Manchester-based JD Sports, which has a market value of £6.3bn, was said to be keen to retain control of a slimmed-down Go Outdoors.

On Tuesday evening, JD Sports confirmed it had hired administrators from Deloitte.

Options for Go Outdoors included a sale, but JD Sports said the business had a potential future within the wider group “if fundamentally restructured”.

Existing staff will be transferred as part of the pre-pack administration sale, they added.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: “As a consequence of COVID-19, Go Outdoors was no longer viable as previously structured and would have absorbed capital at an unsustainable rate for the foreseeable future.

“Having investigated all available options for the business, we firmly believe that this restructuring will provide Go Outdoors with a platform from which it can progress whilst remaining a member of the group.

“Most importantly, we are pleased that it will protect the maximum number of jobs possible.”

Michael Magnay, joint administrator, said: “Like many high street retailers, Go Outdoors Ltd has been seeking to address a number of underlying business challenges in the current UK retail environment, which have been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19.

“This successful sale will provide Go Outdoors with an opportunity to restructure its business to secure its future for the long term.

“I’m particularly pleased that we have been able to secure the employment of all the company’s workforce, and we’d like to thank all employees and key stakeholders for their support throughout this process.”

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