Business

Jones Bootmaker sale saves 840 jobs

Figures walking past Jones Bootmaker shop Image copyright PA

The bulk of footwear chain Jones Bootmaker has been sold to investment firm Endless, saving 72 stores and 840 jobs.

However, the remaining 31 stores will close and about 260 jobs are expected to be lost.

Jones was owned by Alteri Investors, whose "value" shoe chain Brantano collapsed earlier this week.

Endless bought the profitable parts of the business under a "pre-pack" administration deal.

Under a pre-pack agreement, a buyer for a firm or its profitable assets is lined up in advance of the administrators being called in.

"We are delighted that we have been able to rescue such an iconic UK footwear brand as Jones Bootmaker, including a high proportion of stores and preserving a large number of jobs, especially given the current economic pressures faced by retailers across the UK," said Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator.

"This deal recognises the value of Jones as a strong and popular High Street brand with a loyal customer base."

Alteri Investors acquired Jones Bootmaker and Brantano in October 2015. About four months later, Brantano went into administration and Alteri bought it back, minus a few stores.

The chain subsequently faced "difficult trading conditions", and was put into administration on Wednesday after Alteri failed to find a buyer.

What is a pre-pack administration?

  • A pre-pack administration is one in which the insolvent company has already lined up a buyer for its profitable assets before it enters administration, allowing a sale within days
  • It allows a firm to write off its debts and helps it close down loss-making parts of the business
  • Critics say pre-packs "stitch up" unsecured creditors and can allow directors to shed liabilities and buy back the business (under a new company)
  • Others say that if a firm is by definition insolvent, unsecured creditors are unlikely to get their money back anyway, and that pre-packs allow for a quick rescue of the business and help secure jobs

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