Business Irish

Sunday 19 January 2020

JJB buyer who pledged to keep jobs 'thwarted by liquidator'

Colm Kelpie and Sarah Stack.

A buyer had been found for the now-closed JJB Sports Ireland, who was willing to retain all 101 jobs and honour gym memberships, it has been claimed.

Retail Excellence Ireland insisted the unnamed investor was willing to take on the business, but was only given four days to secure the deal by High Court-appointed liquidator Kieran Wallace of accountants KPMG.

The industry body flatly contradicted Mr Wallace's claim that no buyer came forward for the business, which closed its doors last night. The Irish division of JJB Sports includes four stores and two leisure centres in Dundalk, Limerick, Blanchardstown, and Liffey Valley.

A statement said that a liquidator had been actively looking for a buyer for the business. "Regretfully, none has emerged from this process, which has resulted in its closure."

But Retail Excellence chief David Fitzsimons said this was not the case.

"There was a buyer who was willing to invest a significant amount, retain all the jobs, and gave an understanding that they would maintain all the gym memberships," Mr Fitzsimons said.

However, he declined to give details on who the investor was.

The workers, mostly part-time, were informed of closure yesterday, while gym members will be informed membership cannot be fulfilled.

Any monies due will become a creditor claim in the liquidation and all claims must be submitted by November 30.

The outcome for creditors is unknown at this time, KPMG added.

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