Belfast Telegraph

Sorry demise of JJB could've been avoided

By David Elliott

The loss of JJB is a shame, not least because of the jobs losses here in Northern Ireland but also because it marks another victim of the recession, one which would have been avoided had the company stuck to what it was good at.

Started by ex-footballer Dave Whelan in 1971, the firm rose from nothing to a £500m turnover business by 2010 but even by then it was feeling the effects of risky investments.

Whelan sold his 29% share in June 2007 to Chris Ronnie, who went on the acquisition trail buying up the Original Shoe Company and a stake in Umbro.

But as the downturn started to bite JJB struggled to service its debt and that's when the trouble started, culminating in the suspension of its shares.

As a posterchild for sticking at what you do best you couldn't find a better fit than the sport retailer, unfortunately.

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