Republic bought by Sports Direct with 2,100 jobs saved
Budget fashion chain's future secured after being purchased by Mike Ashley-owned firm
BUDGET fashion chain Republic has been bought out by Sports Direct just two weeks after it entered administration, saving more than 2,100 jobs.
Sports Direct purchased 116 Republic shops, the brand's name, their stock and the sub-brands SoulCal, Fabric and Crafted for an undisclosed amount yesterday. The chain, founded in 1986, had an estimated 2,500 staff when it entered administration on 13 February after being hit by falling sales, the BBC notes.
The acquisition comes after Sports Direct posted a 20 per cent rise in sales and an ever bigger jump in gross. The retailer, founded by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, reported sales up 21 per cent to £590 million since the end of October, with gross profits up 23 per cent to £245 million – bucking the otherwise gloomy trend on the High Street.
The chain previously bought the stock and shops from former rivals JJB Sports when they entered administration in 2012, and also owns Lillywhites stores.
Hunter Kelly of Ernst & Young, administrators of Leeds-based Republic, said the purchase was testament to the strength of Republic's brand. He said it was "particularly pleasing" to see Republic's future had been secured during such a "challenging time and volatile climate for retailers". The purchase came as research published by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed high street store closures increased tenfold last year.
HMV, Jessops and Republic have all entered administration in the post-Christmas period, prompting the British Retail Consortium to ask George Osborne to use the upcoming Budget to introduce a national insurance holiday for all companies taking on young unemployed people, and to encourage customer parking improvements on the high street. ·