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Chain saved from closure

JD Sports buys back Go Outdoors in pre-pack deal

Go Outdoors: business savaged by Covid

JD Sports has bought back its Go Outdoors business in £56.5 million pre-pack deal after placing it into administration.

The leisurewear company said in an announcement after the stock market closed that the move would “preserve as many jobs as possible” in Go Outdoors, which sells clothing and equipment to hikers, walkers and cyclists.

However, JD Sports will press ahead with a major restructuring of Go Outdoors, which employs 2,400 staff. It and intends to retain the majority of its 67 stores.

The retail group appointed Michael Magnay and Daniel Butters of Deloitte as joint administrators to Go Outdoors earlier today after it rejected the option of seeking a sale of the business which has seen its sales hammered by the coronavirus crisis.

JD Sports, which also owns the Edinburgh-based outdoors chain Tiso, said it felt the Go Outdoors business had a future within the wider group “if fundamentally restructured”.  All existing staff will be transferred as part of the pre-pack administration sale.

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.”

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Michael Magnay, joint administrator, said: “Like many high street retailers, Go Outdoors 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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