Mike Ashley snaps up struggling fashion retailer Jack Wills and could wield the axe on stores and jobs
- Jack Wills had been searching for a buyer for the past month
- Mike Ashley has stepped in to buy the firm with 110 stores and 1,800 staff
- He said with ‘gift of hindsight’ he may not have bought House of Fraser
Preppy clothes store Jack Wills has been sold to Sports Direct, after being put into administration, KPMG has confirmed.
Jack Wills, a favourite with teenagers and students, had been searching for a buyer for the past month.
Now Mike Ashley has stepped in. He has been snapping up High Street chains at risk of collapse, and edged rival retail billionaire Philip Day in the race to buy the firm.
Jack Wills has been searching for a buyer for the past month – and Mike Ashley has taken the plunge
In recent times, the company has bought House of Fraser and Evans Cycles in cut-price deals.
But late last month Sports Direct delayed results and the billionaire owner of Newcastle United FC said that with ‘the gift of hindsight’ he may not have have purchased House of Fraser
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: ‘Jack Wills has a strong brand and proud British heritage, so it is pleasing to have been able to secure this agreement with Sports Direct.’
Suzanne Harlow, chief executive of Jack Wills, said: ‘For the past year, we have been focused on improving the Jack Wills proposition and the group’s financial performance.
‘Despite significant progress, the challenging trading environment led us to conclude that the company’s long-term future would be best served as part of a larger group and Sports Direct will enable us to do this.’
In its last filed accounts, for the year to January 28, 2018, the Jack Wills group had net debt of £24.6million and had made a loss before tax of £21.6million.
Ashley is likely to make severe cuts to Jack Wills’ 1,800 staff and 110 stores.