Go Outdoors on brink of administration

By a Daily Business reporter | June 21, 2020

JD Sports sent shockwaves through the retail sector with a report that one of the best-performing high street chains intends to appoint administrators for its Go Outdoors’ chain.

Go Outdoors, specialising in camping equipment, bikes and clothes, employs about 2,400 staff across 67 stores.

It was acquired for £112 million by Manchester-based JD Sports group in 2016.

But the chain has been struggling in recent years, and the forced closure of stores under the coronavirus lockdown is said to have further exacerbated the firm’s problems.

It is understood the accountancy firm Deloitte has been appointed to oversee the process, which could see the company restructured or requests made for rent cuts or “holidays” for its stores.

JD Sports also owns Tiso, the Edinburgh-based outdoor clothing and equipment company, which is not thought to be affected.

Go Outdoors is understood to have run a sale process in recent weeks to canvas interest from potential buyers, according to an executive at another major retailer.

Non-essential retailers have been allowed to reopen in Northern Ireland and England, but research reveals that many customers are not comfortable about returning to shops.

Social distancing and the limitations on numbers allowed to enter, as well as long queues, also deters shoppers, and questions the viability of some companies.null

Compared with the same period in 2019, footfall was down 45.3% on the first day of reopening in England, according to retail analyst firm Springboard.

The pandemic has already caused Cath Kidston to go online and Victoria’s Secret and Laura Ashley to call in administrators. 

Poundstretcher and All Saints announced have each launched a company voluntary arrangement, an insolvency process that allows companies to continue trading while pushing through store closures and rent cuts.

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