Five Jack Wills stores shut down as “unprecedented uncertainty” bites

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

  • Frasers Group to close five Jack Wills stores immediately
  • Affected stores are in Dublin, Exeter, Cambridge, Bath and Manchester Trafford Centre
  • Frasers Group was negotiating with landlords to keep them open but “unprecedented uncertainty” meant the closures are “inevitable”
Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette

Frasers Group has announced that it will permanently shut down another five Jack Wills stores with immediate effect as the “unprecedented uncertainty”.

The Jack Wills stores set for closure are located in Dublin, Exeter, Cambridge, Bath and Manchester Trafford Centre.

Retail Gazette has contacted Frasers Group to confirm how many staff will be affected.

A spokesperson from Frasers Group, which had rescued Jack Wills out of administration in August 2019, said the firm had been negotiating with landlords to keep the stores open.

However, due to the “unprecedented uncertainty” in retail in recent times due to the coronavirus pandemic, further closures were “inevitable”.

“The group has been working closely with landlords since acquiring Jack Wills to keep as many stores open as possible, the spokesperson said. “Now faced by unprecedented uncertainty in the retail environment, further closures are inevitable.”

In August last year, the fashion retailer was sold for GBP 12.75 million to Mike Ashley-owned Frasers Group – then known as Sports Direct International – via a pre-pack administration deal.

Jack Wills’ last tranche of store closures took place in January, when six sites were identified after rent negotiations with landlords had failed.

Prior to that, 13 stores had shut down around the time of Frasers Group’s acquisition.

According to Jack Wills’ website, around 80 branches are left in its store estate.