As further Frasers stores may close...

Ashley adds Jack Wills to list of troubled retailers in £12.75m deal

Jack Wills: fell into administration

Mike Ashley has seen off a challenge from Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day to buy the fashion retailer Jack Wills.

Mr Ashley’s company Sports Direct has bought 100 stores in the UK and Ireland out of administration for £12.75m. He will take on 1,700 staff as part of the deal.

The deal was disclosed after the stock market closed. Alternative options are being considered by directors for Jack Wills’ international business, which includes stores in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Jack Wills becomes the latest struggling retailer that Mr Ashley has acquired, though his strategy has come in for questions after he admitted last week that rescuing House of Fraser was a mistake.

There is speculation that Mr Ashley could close as many as two-thirds of the 59 House of Fraser stores.

“All he needs is 15-20 refurbished stores trading in the Frasers format. Around 20 will almost certainly shut and I’d say another 20 are up in the air,” a source told The Financial Times.

Jack Wills made an annual operating loss of £14.2m for the year to 28 January 2018, and had already received more than £20m in additional funding to keep it afloat during the last year.

Administrators at KPMG said on Monday: “Like many other retailers, the company had recently experienced mounting cash flow pressures amidst some of the most difficult trading conditions seen on the high street in years.”

Mr Ashley has acquired Evans Cycles, and has a stake in Debenhams. He has taken a hit from his near-19% stake in Goals Soccer Centres which has announced plans to delist amid an accounting scandal.

Clicks and Mortar confirmed

Amazon has confirmed that the next Clicks and Mortar shop will open in Waverley Mall, Edinburgh, this week as part of a UK-wide pilot launched in conjunction with the small business support organisation Enterprise Nation.

The shops give small online firms a chance to meet customers and promote their goods.

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones announced during an entrepreneurs’ festival in June that Waverley Mall was under consideration.

Clicks and Mortar shops are an opportunity to meet customers

There will be 12 brands in the store and two places at £150 per week were still available ahead of the launch of the first cohort on Saturday until 23 August.

The second cohort runs from 24 August 6 September and the third is running for 1 week only from 7 -13 September.

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