Retail round-up: JD Sports eyes Go Outdoors’ takeover, Hawkin’s Bazaar to almost double stores, and Debenhams to exit examinership in Ireland. 

Frank Field to query Topshop investor over BHS pension deficit

The parliamentary committee probing Sir Philip Green’s handling of the BHS pension hole is planning to question US investor Leonard Green, who owns a 25% stake in Arcadia’s Topshop chain, The Times reported.

Frank Field, who chairs the committee, wants to speak to Green in order to seek assurances over the pension shortfall at Arcadia Group.

Field has concerns that the presence of the US minority investor may provide a stumbling block to plugging the Arcadia pension deficit using Topshop cash.

He said that he hopes to discuss with Leonard Green whether Topshop, as “the one money-spinning part of Arcadia”, would be able to help plug the shortfall.

Field said: “I’m hoping that when he’s next over in this country we will be able to meet informally to talk about this.”

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell took £1.5m cash from BHS to pay off the family mortgage, provided by lender Amicus, according to The Guardian.

Chappell’s family property was on the verge of being repossessed unless their debts were repaid as the financial company initiated legal proceedings against them.

JD Sports Fashion eyes bid for rival Go Outdoors

Sporting goods retailer JD Sports Fashion is eyeing an acquisition of smaller rival Go Outdoors, which has been put up for sale by its management and private equity backers, according to Sky News.

The high-street chain is understood to be among a raft of suitors examining bids for Go Outdoors.

A number of buyout firms are also in the race to buy the retailer.

Hawkin’s Bazaar plans to increase stores in five years

Toy shop chain Hawkin’s Bazaar is aiming to nearly double its store estate as part of ambitious expansion plans, the Evening Standard reported.

The retailer’s boss David Mordecai estimates that it can grow from its 30 current stores to around 50 in the next five years.

Hawkin’s Bazaar will kick off its expansion programme with 10 to 12 Christmas pop-ups, some of which could become permanent.

Mordecai said: “The opportunity is potentially much greater, that’s being fairly conservative. But we don’t want to open 20 stores a year because that would make it quite unstable.”

Debenhams Ireland saves 1,330 jobs as it exits examinership

Debenhams’ Irish unit is set to exit examinership after the High Court approved a restructuring plan for the company operating the retailer’s 11 stores, the Irish Times reported.

The move would save 1,330 jobs at Debenhams Retail (Ireland).

Debenhams Ireland’s director John Bebbington said: “The directors of Debenhams Retail (Ireland) are delighted to have secured the future of Debenhams stores in Ireland. We are very pleased with the overall outcome of securing jobs and keeping open all 11 stores, thereby ensuring that we continue to offer our customers a great selection of products and brands.”

“Our priorities are now to implement the restructuring plan to ensure Debenhams’ long-term sustainable future in Ireland. To that end, an investment plan for the business has commenced in addition to a funding facility that will provide support to the business for the next three years,” Bebbington added.

Scarlett & Jo plans to secure £5m for further growth

Plus-size fashion label Scarlett & Jo is seeking to raise £5m, including £1m through crowdfunding, to finance further growth, This is Money reported.

The business expects to post revenue of £1.5m in its first year of trading as an independent company.

Fashion veteran and the brand’s founder Gifi Fields said: "We have made huge strides since our launch six months ago.

"We are looking to extend the brand trademark to shoes, accessories, bags and beauty care products and we envisage a stock market listing within a timescale of three to five years."

Monsoon and Accessorize founder agrees not to withdraw dividends

Monsoon and Accessorize founder Peter Simon has pledged to not take any more multi-million-pound dividends from the fashion retailer during a restructuring of his business over the next three to five years, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

The ongoing turnaround programme involves 141 store closures as it calls time on operating joint brands in a single shop format.