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JJB Sports to close with loss of 100 jobs

Closure is indicative of failure by landlords to reduce Celtic Tiger era rents, says Retail association.

JJB SPORTS WILL close its Irish shops and gym this evening after it failed to find a buyer for the troubled business.

The company, which ran four stores and two leisure centres in Dundalk, Blanchardstown, Limerick and Liffey Valley, employs 101 people.

A statement by the court appointed liquidator KPMG said that despite looking for a purchaser, none had been found.

However, according to Retail Excellence (REI), which represented the retail industry in Ireland, a buyer was looking into purchasing the chain.

“It is disappointing to see the closure of the 4 JJB stores and 2 leisure centres” said David Fitzsimons, CEO of REI. “REI is aware of a buyer who was willing to retain all jobs in the JJB company and honour the gym memberships, however the slowness of the liquidation process and an unwillingness on the part of the stores landlords and agents acting on behalf of these landlords to agree a market rent deal meant that time ran out for the company.”

He said the outcome was indicative of the fact that landlords are still charging Celtic tiger rents which are not sustainable.

2,200 UK staff at JJB Sports were made redundant at the beginning of October when the administrator closed 133 stores and sold the remaining 20 to rival Sports Direct International.

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