JD saves jobs with Ark rescue

BURY-based JD Sports Fashion has saved 160 jobs after buying fashion retailer  Ark out of administration.

The listed company will retain 10 stores, but “uneconomic” sites in Cambridge, Norwich and Merry Hill in the Midlands and a Hearts and Bows store in Manchester have been closed by administrators Begbies Traynor.

Ark’s parent company Rett Retail will contined to be based in Leeds office and  its current management team has been retained.

A spokesperson for JD Sports Fashion Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have added the Ark fascia to our young fashion offer which brings with it some leading brands and a successful own brand offer (Cloak and Hearts and Bows). 

“We look forward to supporting the established management team to develop the business further.”

Tom Edge, director of Rett Retail and Ark Fashion, added: “Becoming part of the JD group is the best deal for all those involved in Rett Retail and we look forward to working with them for an exciting future.”

David Acland, partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “This sale has protected a large number of vital jobs in the retail sector. At the same time, it enables JD Sports to continue its ambitious expansion plans, following on as it does from other key strategic acquisitions earlier in the year.

“It is no secret that many retail businesses are facing a hugely challenging environment at the moment, and this deal is a welcome piece of good news for the sector.”

A team from DWF led by Matthew Brown, head of the restructuring team in Leeds, and assisted by Danielle Bennett, advised the joint administrators on the sale.