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O’Neill in talks to rescue licensed stores run by Sandcity

Boardsports brand O’Neill is in talks with the administrator of Sandcity, the surfwear division of Blacks Leisure, about acquiring the UK O’Neill stores which Sandcity ran under licence.

O’Neill is believed to be in discussions with administrator KPMG about taking four or five of the sites. At one point the company operated 11 O’Neill stores.

Earlier this year, O’Neill took back the licence for its UK wholesale operation from Sandcity after Blacks Leisure said it wanted to exit the difficult boardsports market. O’Neill set up its own UK subsidiary which meant the wholesale operation was unaffected by the administration of Sandcity last month. O’Neill has 250 UK stockists.

KPMG confirmed this week it had already closed one O’Neill store, in Glasgow. It would not comment on talks with any interested parties. However, any stores not bought by O’Neill are expected to close.

Separately, O’Neill will open a standalone store via its UK subsidiary at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent in December. The storefit will be inspired by brand founder Jack O’Neill’s own Pacific coast house in Santa Cruz, California.

The same look will be adopted in any other stores O’Neill opens or takes over, as well as in a planned roll-out of shop-in-shops and franchise stores.

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