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Winchester sports shop sold after national chain collapses
3:21pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in News
NINE jobs in Winchester have been saved following the collapse of the JJB sports chain.
In all, 80 staff at stores throughout Hampshire have been made redundant after the retail group went into administration.
Administrators closed 133 stores on Monday and agreed to sell 20 remaining outlets, including Winchester, to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International.
The Winchester High Street store was this week staging a closing down sale before shutting for rebranding as a Sports Direct store.
A spokesman for Sports Direct said the shop would definitely reopen at a date to be announced.
Staff at the shop on Tuesday declined to discuss the situation with the Chronicle.
Nearly 2,200 jobs have been lost across the country.
Other Hampshire stores that have been hit include the Southampton store, with the loss of 21 jobs. Fareham, which employed 18 staff, Basingstoke (20), Portsmouth (11) and Waterlooville (13) were also on the closure list.
The Sports World parent bought the stores, the JJB brand and its website for £23.8m in a deal that will protect 550 jobs in the UK, including its warehouse.
But the agreement was a worse-than-expected outcome for JJB staff as Sports Direct was reportedly hoping to safeguard up to 1,500 jobs and buy up to 60 stores.
David McCorquodale, corporate finance partner at KPMG, who led the sales process, said the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business was too much risk for the firm.
The saving of the Winchester store will please local business chiefs. Recently Paul Morgan, director of Warrens stationers, on the High Street, said whenever national chains collapsed the Winchester branch never seemed to be rescued by administrators citing Clinton Cards, Game and Past Times.
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