Thirteen lose jobs as store is closed

JJB in Church Street, Blackpool and (below) Steve Pye, chairman of the Fylde coast's Federation of Small Businesses.

JJB in Church Street, Blackpool and (below) Steve Pye, chairman of the Fylde coast's Federation of Small Businesses.

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A MAJOR sports store in the heart of the resort has closed down and made 13 members of staff redundant.

JJB Sports, on Church Street, Blackpool, was shut at 11am yesterday after weeks of speculation surrounding the future of the company.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Fylde coast's Federation of Small Businesses.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Fylde coast's Federation of Small Businesses.

One employee was kept on by the KPMG administrators to oversee the store’s closure, which was confirmed when Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley failed to buy out the sports kit retailer.

It was believed the Newcastle United FC owner would enter into a deal with the company’s owner and Wigan FC chairman Dave Whelan to buy 60 stores and save 1,500 jobs.

However, 2,200 jobs will be lost across the country in a deal worth £23.8m to protect 550 UK jobs.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Fylde coast’s Federation of Small Businesses branch, said the closure was a “sad day” for the high street.

He told The Gazette: “This is what happens when companies operating throughout the country close down.

“When one shop goes the rest follow and it’s sad for the high street because it has lost another big name.

“There’s a multitude of reasons why they are shutting down and a lot more people are buying online because it’s cheaper.”

Mr Pye says JJB’s closure will hit other areas of the economy.

He added: “It has a knock-on effect to the store’s suppliers and once one job is lost three are effected in-directly.

“If those 13 people regularly bought a sandwich or used public transport, those businesses are now going to suffer from not getting their money anymore.

“I hope the building is filled quickly because it’s in a convenient spot.”

Richard Fleming, UK head of restructuring at KPMG, said: “Successive attempts to restructure the business, both financially and operationally, have not been enough to prevent the company falling into administration.”

David McCorquodale, KPMG corporate finance partner who led the sales process, added: “In spite of the severity of financial distress suffered by the business, we spoke with over 100 parties in the first few days of our appointment; with eight trade and private equity players tabling first round bids.

“Unfortunately the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business was too much risk for most interested parties.

“We hope to be able to sell the leasehold interests of some of the remaining stores, which may result in re-employment of some staff.”

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