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JD Sports buys Blacks Leisure

JD Sports Fashion has acquired the trading assets and trade of Blacks Leisure for £20m.

The sportswear and young fashion giant has announced that it has bought the trading assets and trade of Blacks Leisure, which owns the Blacks and Millets chain, from its administrators, KPMG. The sale was via a pre-pack administration. This follows reports last week that JD had offered around £20m for the ailing retailer.

JD said it would be retaining a senior management team at Blacks led by chief executive Julia Reynolds. In a statement the retailer added: “Following the elimination of any underperforming stores and other cost reduction initiatives we believe the business can be run successfully as independent fascias within the group.”

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports Fashion, said: ”We are delighted to add another leading multi-branded retail proposition to our portfolio of retail businesses.  We believe with the support of JD’s operational disciplines and financial strength, along with the existing Blacks management team, we can restore the Blacks business to a profitable market leading position.”

JD will “evaluate the performance of each store in the coming months in order to reach a conclusion about the number of stores which will be retained long term”.

Richard Fleming, joint administrator and UK head of restructuring at KPMG, commented:

“Today’s sale allows the continued trading of all the shops.  A sale via ‘pre-pack’ administration was required to rescue as much of the business as possible.  Blacks has struggled, in tough economic conditions, to generate enough cash to service its high overhead costs. However, Blacks has a strong brand and, accordingly, generated a huge amount of buyer interest from some of the best known entrepreneurs and competitors in the market.  Today’s announcement draws a line in the sand and allows the business to put its best foot forward.”

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