JJB Sports

JJB Sports

Infobox Company
company_name = JJB Sports PLC
company_type = Public limited company
company_slogan =
foundation = 1971
location = Wigan, England, UK
key_people = Roger Lane-Smith, Chairman Dave Whelan, Honorary President, Chris Ronnie, Chief Executive
industry = Retail
products = Clothing Sportswear Sports equipment Health Clubs
revenue =
operating_income = £46.4 million
net_income = £34.6 million
num_employees = 9,417
parent =
subsid =
homepage = [http://www.jjbsports.com JJB Sports Online]
footnotes =

JJB Sports PLC is one of the United Kingdom's leading sports retailers.


The sportshop chain was founded in 1971, when ex-footballer Dave Whelan acquired a single sports shop in Wigan. The original store was established by JJ Broughton in the early 1900s and was then bought by JJ Braddock and then JJ Bradburn. As these initials were all the same the business was known locally as JJB's. When Whelan bought the store from John Bradburn he maintained the JJB name.

During the early 1990s, the store portfolio grew to 120 stores by 1994, at which point the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange. In 1998, JJB bought its largest competitor Sports Division. The acquisition then made JJB one of the largest sports retailers in the UK, focusing on sports clothing rather than sports equipment.

Duncan Sharpe, chief executive of JJB sports committed suicide in 2002. Mr Sharpe had been with JJB Sports for 19 years and was the son-in-law of the firm's founder David Whelan. By 2005, JJB had expanded to over 430 stores throughout the UK and Ireland. It had also opened a new branch in Amsterdam in 2002.

On 8 June, 2007, Whelan sold his residual 29% stake in the firm for £190 million to Icelandic financial group Exista and Chris Ronnie, a sports retailer who previously worked at Umbro and Sports Direct. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6736431.stm "JJB founder David Whelan sells up" BBC News, 8 June 2007] ]

On the 19 October 2007, JJB bought a 10.1% stake in Umbro in a move to protect its stake in the market for England football shirts. [cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7053403.stm |title= JJB Sports acquires 10% in Umbro |publisher=BBC News |date=2007-10-19] This stake was sold in its entirity to Nike in March 2008.

In December 2007, JJB announced that they had purchased the Original Shoe Company for £5 Million. JJB is considering converting some of the smaller JJB High Street stores stores into OSC stores. However OSC will operate as separate division of the JJB group. The Original Shoe Company will share JJB's buying, financing and marketing functions.

In September 2008 JJB released a less than impressive set of interim results [ [http://www.jjbcorporate.co.uk/pdf/Interim%20results%202008.pdf] ] which included a warning from the auditors raising doubts over JJB's future as a going concern. This is due to a short term loan repayment of £20 million due before the end of 2008. If this cannot be repaid from normal trading cashflow then JJB will be advised to sell certain non-core assets to cover the shortfall. These non-core assets are not however specified. JJB's net worth was only £28 million in the beginning of October 2008.

In October 2008 the value of JJB shares fell to less than 10% of the value at the time of Dave Whelan's share sale to Chris Ronnie and Exista. This was partly in response to the Interim Report and then also as a result of Coface removing credit insurance from debts owed by JJB to their suppliers. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/3136531/JJB-Sports-under-pressure-as-insurers-pull-plug.html] ]


JJB Sports launched their shopping site, JJB Sports Store, with a view to expanding their market. The majority shareholder of JJB Sports Plc was Dave Whelan but his 99% stake was sold off. As well as sports clothing, JJB also operates a number of health clubs. The JJB "Soccerdomes", large centres for five-a-side football were sold to Powerleague in 2007. JJB is also the official retail partner to two of the UK's biggest shopping centers, Thistles and Howgate, JJB is also the current main shirt sponsor for local English Premier League outfit Wigan Athletic F.C. and until the end of the 2008 season rugby league Superleague club Wigan Warriors. It also gives its name to the stadium at which both clubs play (JJB Stadium).

Price fixing

In 2003 JJB Sports were fined £8.3 million by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for fixing the price of England and Manchester United shirts in 2000 and 2001 [ [http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,3604,1488193,00.html JJB fights on despite cut in replica kit fine | Business | The Guardian ] ] . Which Consumer magazine issued proceedings against JJB Sports to sue the high street retailer for damages on behalf of consumers who were affected by the price fixing. [ [http://www.which.co.uk/press/press_topics/campaign_news/other_issues/footballshirts130307_571_110793.jsp Which? issues legal proceedings against JJB Sports ] ]

JJB & MiFit fitness clubs

JJB operate as of October 2008 approximately 60 Health & Fitness Centres all over the UK. These are premium offerings at a budget price and have been successful wherever they have been opened. In particular one in Wigan was so successful that eventually the nearby Fitness First club was offered for sale to JJB, and its remaining members assimilated into the JJB Health Club.

In September 2008, JJB Sports launched MiFit [ [http://www.mifit.com/] ] . Branded as the "cheapest premium gym in the UK", members pay a one off joining fee and then £9.95 a month. The first gym to open was in Cardiff, with the gym being located above and accessed via a JJB Sports store. A second gym will be opened in Reading in 2009. Signage and accessories of the gym are branded MiFit.com. MiFit is a separate brand from JJB Health Clubs and there is no crossover between the two clubs.

There has been noted interest in purchasing JJB's health clubs, from a Middle Eastern investor. [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=a0RXtKFV6fhg&refer=uk]


External links

* [http://www.jjbsports.com JJB Sports Online]
* [http://www.jjbfitness.co.uk JJB Fitness Clubs]
* [http://www.jjbsoccerdome.co.uk JJB Soccer Dome]
* [http://www.jjbgolf.co.uk JJB Golf]

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