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Weekend newspaper round-up: March 14-15

The best of the fashion business headlines from the weekend’s newspapers…

The Sunday Times said that JJB Sports was negotiating with landlords to ditch around 30 stores. It wants to pay to terminate leases early, or to agree lower rents for the remainder of the leases.

According to the newspaper, JJB has been working on plans to ringfence the stores and put them into a CVA, while the rest of the listed company remained solvent, if it cannot renegotiate leases.

A JJB spokesman told the newspaper the company was looking at options to reduce outgoings to meet the needs of shareholders and secure the long term future of the business.

The newspaper said that JJB Sports transfered a £274,000 payoff into a the bank account of former chief executive Chris Ronnie’s lawyers, but was demanding the money back. Law firm Pannone confirmed that the money remained in the account.

Former chief executive Chris Ronnie resigned from the company last month saying he had reached a financial settlement with the company, but JJB Sports said that no settlement had been made.

The Sunday Times also reported that ethical etailer Adili has teamed up the with Carbon Trust to label T-shirts and sweatshirts with their carbon footprint. Adili said the labels would give consumers transparency about he environmental impact.

Former Woolworths chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones is to launch a recruitment website Mypeopelbiz, according to The Sunday Times. It is understood that Bish-Jones wants to cash in in on the growing number of unemployed company executives and to cut the cost of recruitment by using the power of social networking.

The newspaper also carried an interview with Baugur chairman Jon Asgeir Johannesson where he told the paper that he was “still in a state of shock” following the demise of the Icelandic investment group which had been “a total disaster scenario”. He admitted mistakes at Baugur, saying that it was leveraged too much but vowed to “do it differently next time”.

The Sunday Telegraph interviewed Baugur chief executive Gunnar Sigurdsson who said that he planned to look for new opportunities and had set up a new company, Tecamol.

The Mail on Sunday said that Dave Whelan’s £70 million deal to buy JJB Sports’ health clubs beat rival offers from former JJB Sports chief executive Tom Knight and private equity firm Rutland Partners.

The Observer said the Treasury intervened in Dave Wheelan’s proposed £70 million acquisition of JJB Sports’ health clubs. The report said that the deal will be confirmed this week and will safeguard 12,000 jobs at the Wigan-based company. Wigan MP Neil Turner appealed to the chancellor Alistair Darling on Whelan’s behalf, according to the report. JJB Sports wants to sell the health clubs to help meet debt payment deadlines with its lenders.

The Independent on Sunday reported that investors in Debenhams were ready to support a rights issue at the business, if one is announced when the group reports its full year results tomorrow. Debenhams hired Lazards in January to examine a renegotiation of its £900 million debt. The report added that French Connection is expected to report a loss when it reports its results this week.






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