JJB blow for Blackpool

JJB Sports headquarters at Martland Park, Wigan
JJB Sports headquarters at Martland Park, Wigan
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STAFF at Blackpool’s town centre JJB store face an anxious wait to see if they will keep their jobs after the company announced it is up for sale.

The 14 employees at the Church Street store have been informed of the situation but have not been told what will happen in the long term.

JJB, which has been involved in a long-running survival battle after a slump in sales and a string of profit warnings, has failed to secure the funds needed to overhaul its stores.

The company has 180 stores nationwide and employs 4,000 people. If its three-storey Blackpool shop closes it would leave an unwelcome gap in a key area of town.

But Eileen Ormand, Town Centre Business Improvement District manager, is hopeful JJB can be saved.

She said: “Its Blackpool store is very successful and because of that I would hope it will stay open and be one of the JJB stores the company chooses to save.

“It is a tragedy when we lose names like that off the high street but hopefully it won’t come to that.

“In the meantime my thoughts are with the staff because it is always difficult for them at times like this. Hopefully it will have a happy outcome.”

JJB has debts and outstanding loans totalling £36 million.

A company statement said: “As a result, the board has decided to conduct a formal sale process of the company and now wishes to invite offers to support further investment in the company, which may result in a sale of the company or its assets.”

A spokesman added: “Jobs are not under threat at any of our stores at the moment and it is business as usual. But what happens long term depends on who buys the company.”

JJB, founded by Wigan FC owner Dave Whelan in 1971, also has two stores in Preston and further shops in Lancaster, Chorley and Blackburn.

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