Retailer JJB Sports is to close 72 of its 416 stores at a cost of 800 jobs after reporting a 28% fall in annual profits.
For the year to January, the Wigan-based retailer made a pre-tax profit of £33.8m, down from £47.2m over the same period last year.
Chief executive Chris Ronnie said admitted that 1,200 staff would be affected by the closures, but said 400 staff would be re-assigned under a restructuring programme. Seven of the stores will be re-badged as ‘Original Shoe Company’ stores, which JJB acquired last year.
“The decision to close the 72 stores is based on the fact that they are non-profitable and are a huge drain on the business,” said Ronnie. “We decided that we would clean up our store portfolio going forward, not only on out-of-town stores, but also high street stores.”
The move follows warnings by the British Retail Consortium of potential cuts in training and recruitment in the retail sector because of a slowdown in consumer spending.