Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

JJB Pulls Plug on TJ Hughes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

JJB Pulls Plug on TJ Hughes

Article excerpt

Byline: By Iain Laing

Jjb Sports yesterday pulled the plug on its 18-month ownership of discount retailer TJ Hughes by selling the chain for pounds 55.8m.

A management team at the Liverpool-based department store group is to buy the business, which JJB said in the summer had become a non-core asset.

JJB's new business was troubled from the start after the pounds 42.9m acquisition in April 2002 drew a lukewarm response from investors.

Trading early on was also difficult, although JJB said last month that the discount operation, which operates from 39 outlets, had started to show signs of an improved performance.

The disposal will allow Wigan-based JJB to concentrate on its core estate, which now comprises 447 stores, many of which also have health clubs.

Chairman David Whelan said: "Having conducted a review of the group's activities, the board concluded that a sale of TJ Hughes at this time is in the best interests of the group."

The company added it would use the proceeds to reduce net debt, although it has not ruled out plans to return capital to shareholders. …

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