Go Outdoors, the retail chain specialising in camping, cycling and outdoor equipment, looks set to go into administration following an update from parent company JD Sports Fashion plc to the London Stock Exchange this morning.
In an update to the London Stock Exchange this morning following speculation in the press over the weekend, JD Sports said that it had “considered a number of strategic options” for the business, which trades from 67 main stores plus a handful of standalone fishing stores.
It confirmed that Go Outdoors’ directors had lodged a notice of intention to appoint administrators in court, which “creates an immediate moratorium around the company and its property which lasts for ten business days.”
JD Sports said that during that period, Go Outdoors’ “creditors cannot take legal action or continue with any existing legal proceedings against the company without the court's permission.”
It added: “Administrators have not yet been appointed and the group will make no further comment at this time.”
During May, Go Outdoors gradually reopened almost all of its stores after they had been closed in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while it does also trade online, its offer in cycling is more limited than that of rival retailers, many of which have seen a boom in sales through the internet.
However, the chain looks likely to join a growing list of retailers that were already struggling to have been tipped over the edge by having to shut stores as a result of lockdown restrictions.
Prior to the crisis hitting the UK, Outdoor and Cycle Concepts told its employees that it planned to close its Cycle Surgery business, while in mid-March, shortly before the country entered lockdown, Halfords announced that it was shutting its standalone Cycle Republic chain.
JD Sports bought Go Outdoors, which has 2,400 staff, in a £128.3-million deal announced in November 2016 and completed in May 2017 after the Competition & Markets Authority approved the acquisition.
Go Outdoors was founded in 1998 in Sheffield by Paul Caplan and John Graham and earlier this year rebranded itself temporarily as Go Indoors as the country entered lockdown and people were urged by the government to “stay home.”
As well as its in-house Calibre brand which includes road and mountain bikes, Go Outdoors also sells brands including Raleigh and Diamondback, plus clothing and accessories.
Last year, its warehousing was centralised in Middlewich, Cheshire, with stock previously delivered by brands directly to stores, which JD Sports said created availability issues at times of strong demand.
Announcing its interim results in September last year, JD Sports said: “There were a number of initial challenges arising from the execution of this change which had a significant impact on availability, replenishment to stores and online fulfilment in the key trading period of May and June.
“We have now resolved many of the issues and are more widely reassured over the longer term potential for Go Outdoors after the business delivered like for like sales growth in July.
“We maintain our belief that this new flexible supply chain model, where we have greater control over the replenishment, will bring longer term financial benefits to Go Outdoors.”
JD Sports is due to announce its annual results for the 12 months to 1 February 2020 on 7 July.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.