JD Sports confirmed today that it had lodged a notice of intention to appoint administrators for its outdoors brand Go Outdoors. However, administrators have not as yet been appointed.
The sports and outdoors retail group says that it has considered a number of strategic options for its Go Outdoors subsidiary, and that the notice of intention now protects Go Outdoors and its property for 10 business days. During this time, Go’s creditors cannot take legal action, or continue existing legal action, without permission of a court.
Go Outdoors is currently trading from 66 shops which have now reopened after the Covid-19 lockdown, although its Stoke store is currently closed. Stores are operating under social distancing conditions including limited numbers of people in stores, deep cleaning and disinfecting, and perspex screens at checkouts. Customer service teams are working from home. But the retailer is likely to be feeling the effect both of prolonged store closures and of the fact that shoppers are not yet permitted to visit campsites or stay away from home overnight during the coronavirus pandemic.
The news comes almost four years after JD Sports bought Go Outdoors in November 2016 for £112.3m. At the time it said the deal would consolidate its position in the outdoors market, while also giving it a new presence in out-of-town retail parks.
At the time, Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports Fashion, said: “Go Outdoors is a great addition to our existing outdoor business. The minimal overlap in store locations and their out of town, one-stop retailer approach complements the work we have done on the high street with Blacks and Millets and further strengthens our offering in the Outdoor sector. I am excited by the future prospects this holds for the JD Group.”
Go Outdoors is a Top100 retailer in RXUK Top500 research and employs an estimated 2,000 staff, while JD Sports is a Leading retailer.