Jack Wills, the British lifestyle fashion retailer, has been sold out of administration to companies controlled by Sports Direct for €13.85m (£12.75m). For the year ended 28 January 2018, JW had gross assets of €107.6m (c.£99m) and made an operating loss of €15.4m (£14.2m) and a net profit of €20.9m (£19.2m). All 100 stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as the Distribution Centre, will transfer to Sports Direct, along with all employees. The directors are currently assessing their options for international business.
Over the last 20 years, Jack Wills has grown to become one of the UK’s most well-known lifestyle brands, with approximately 100 stores across the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and USA. The company also has six franchised stores across Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Channel Islands, as well as an established e-commerce channel serving 130 countries. It employs approximately 1,700 staff across the business.
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.
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, commented: “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 focussed 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.”