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JD set to double fashion stores in JJB Sports deal

JD Sports Fashion could double the size of its fashion division if talks with JJB Sports to buy its Original Shoe Company (OSC) and Qube chains result in a deal.

JD Sports Fashion is understood to be in talks with the rival sportswear group to take about 100 shops from JJB Sports’ lifestyle chains, less than a year after it acquired them.
JJB Sports this week said it had received an approach for the OSC and Qube chains after putting its “non-core” assets up for sale, but declined to give details. A deal would see JD Sports Fashion add OSC and Qube to its branded fashion portfolio, which includes the Bank and Scotts chains.

JD chairman Peter Cowgill has previously said that he hopes to expand the 50-store Bank chain to 200 shops over the next few years, and it is thought some of the stores could be converted to the Bank and Scotts fascias.

Pentland Group, a majority stakeholder in JD Sports Fashion, is also a key supplier to JJB and OSC. Sources suggested that Pentland’s exposure to JJB could have prompted a deal as it would safeguard some of its order book. Other suppliers welcomed a JD takeover. One said: “We had to cancel the orders we had for OSC last week as we can’t get credit insurance on JJB. This gives us the chance to rescue those orders and our sales if JD takes over.”

JD Sports Fashion declined to comment.

Separately, JJB Sports has appointed non-executive direc-tor, and former Next chief executive, David Jones as deputy chair-man to focus on retail operations.

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