JJB Sports chief executive Keith Jones said he has been encouraged by landlords’ responses so far as crunch talks about the retailer’s potential CVA continue.
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“Dialogue has been open and constructive. I have been encouraged by how supportive our landlords have been,” Jones said.
Despite what would be JJB’s second CVA in two years, Jones said: “We’ve taken the most comprehensive review of this business to make this the final action.”
Shareholders in the retailer meet today, when they are expected to approve a £31.5m fundraising that is also necessary to guarantee JJB’s survival. A further fundraising, probably a rights issue, is anticipated and will be detailed when JJB supplies its banks with a revised business plan next Thursday.
Jones said the CVA, being carried out by KPMG, was “not borne out of choice”. He said: “This is the only option we have to survive. If we don’t do this we’d be looking at 247 voids.” He said he tried to make the CVA as landlord-friendly as possible by putting 50 stores under review rather than just closing them, alongside the 45 it will shut immediately. He declined to comment on the first CVA under different management but said the 45 stores it plans to shut would have been loss-making at that time too.
Some retailers are furious about JJB’s latest CVA plans, which they resent as an unfair prop for an ailing business. They may attempt to derail the CVA.
JD, which has been in talks to buy JJB, was due to decide whether to continue discussions as Retail Week went to press.
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