JD Sports has rescued collapsed fashion retailer Ark out of administration, saving 160 jobs.

Four “uneconomic” Ark stores  have closed in Norwich, Cambridge, Merry Hill and the Hearts and Bows store in Manchester, resulting in 40 redundancies.

Ark will continue to trade from its Leeds Head office and the management team has been kept.

Ark fell into administration on Tuesday, appointing Begbies Traynor. Joint administrators David Acland and Lila Thomas negotiated the deal

Acland said: “This sale has protected a large number of vital jobs in the retail sector.

“At the same time, it enables JD Sports to continue its ambitious expansion plans, following on as it does from other key strategic acquisitions earlier in the year.

“It is no secret that many retail businesses are facing a hugely challenging environment at the moment, and this deal is a welcome piece of good news for the sector.”

JD Sports Fashion spokesman said: “We look forward to supporting the established management team to develop the business further.”

Tom Edge, director of Rett Retail which owns Ark, added: “Becoming part of the JD group is the best deal for all those involved in Rett Retail and we look forward to working with them for an exciting future.”

Ark is a fashion retailer primarily based in the north of England. It was founded in Leeds in 1992.