The sale includes five purpose-built indoor soccer centres. JJB will retain ownership of the leasehold sites and continue trading from the attached stores and health clubs.
JJB has also signed a five-year sponsorship with Powerleague to become the official sports retailer at its centres, giving it access to about 120,000 active grassroots footballers on a weekly basis.
Kaupthing and Panmure Gordon both approved of the deal, pointing out that long-term growth at JJB would be driven by investment in retail and organic growth of health clubs.
Kaupthing analyst Matthew McEachran said: “This is a good reallocation of capital, because the proceeds could fund more than 100 store refits in the new concept or another five or so gym/retail units. Shares should respond well to this.”
JJB’s Soccer Domes are in Manchester, Wigan, Derby, Blackburn and North Shields. For the year to January 27, the Soccer Domes division generated a net profit of£800,000 on a turnover of£6.2 million.
Panmure Gordon analyst Philip Dorgan said the book value of the five soccer domes is£11.3 million and the transaction is earnings enhancing.
JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie said: “The sale of Soccer Domes to Powerleague is representative of our strategy of focusing on re-energising our retail offer, while at the same time looking for opportunities to increase the number and profitability of our combined health clubs and stores.”
JJB’s like-for-like revenue in the six weeks to January 6 rose 2.5 per cent. The retailer said it expects pre-tax profit and exceptional operating items for the second half to be below the£27.4 million achieved in the second half of last year.