A sporting chance for fashion group
8:53am Friday 1st March 2013 in News
THERE was good news for shop workers in Bolton yesterday after fashion chain Republic was sold to a subsidiary of Sports Direct.
The fashion firm went into administration in February, threatening 2,500 jobs mainly in the north of England.
The Leeds-based company has a Bolton store in the Market Place shopping centre, which was one of 120 branches under threat. It is understood the shop employs eight staff who have declined to comment on the latest development.
Accountancy firm Ernst and Young has been handling the administration.
Republic’s problems were blamed on young people’s lack of spare cash and unemployment, along with fierce competition.
Yesterday Ernst and Young said it had sold Republic and its assets to a subsidiary of Sports Direct for an undisclosed sum.
The sale includes the brand, 116 stores and the head office in Leeds, helping to “safeguard” more than 2,100 jobs across the UK.
Last month 150 employees at the firm’s Leeds HQ were made redundant.
Administrator Hunter Kelly said yesterday: “In what has been a very challenging time and volatile climate for retailers, it is particularly pleasing to have completed the successful sale of Republic.
“The brand Republic is well recognised and respected by customers for offering quality, high fashion goods, and it is a testament to its strength that Sports Direct has made this investment to secure its future and high street presence.
“We are extremely grateful for the support and loyalty showed by all staff and customers during what has been an uncertain time, and would like to thank everyone at Republic for their commitment and hard work during the administration process.”
The business began as a men's denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand in Leeds.
Sports Direct, which has branches in Oxford Street, Bolton, and Middlebrook, was founded in Maidenhead by Mike Ashley in 1982.
It is now the UK’s largest sports retailer with more than 470 stores, including Field and Trek, Hargreaves Sports, Gilesports, Donnay International and the Lillywhites shop in Piccadilly Circus, London.
It has stores in Ireland, Belgium, France, Portugal, Holland and Slovenia along with the SportsDirect.com website.
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