Belfast Telegraph

Jack Wills boss exits after Sports Direct takeover

Suzanne Harlow has left her position.

Jack Wills was bought by Sports Direct this month (PA)
Jack Wills was bought by Sports Direct this month (PA)

By Alys Key, PA City Reporter

Jack Wills boss Suzanne Harlow has left the business following its acquisition by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct earlier this month.

Ms Harlow’s departure yesterday comes less than a year after she assumed the post last September, having come on board as a consultant last May.

A source close to the situation told the PA news agency it had not been her decision to leave.

They added that Ms Harlow had made “significant improvements” to Jack Wills over the last year including new product development, improving margins and halving the underlying earnings loss.

Despite the progress, Jack Wills was put up for sale by its former owner Bluegem Capital earlier this year.

The process came down to a head-to-head between Mr Ashley and retail rival Philip Day, the owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, with Sports Direct eventually buying the business out of a pre-pack administration.

Upon the announcement of the deal, Sports Direct said that Jack Wills would come under a new division established to focus solely on buying and building fashion and sports brands, and report to Michael Murray in his role as head of elevation.

It was the latest acquisition in a shopping spree of high street brands by Mr Ashley, who has also bought House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and in the space of a year.

It is not the first time Sports Direct has cleared out the management of its acquisitions. In October last year House of Fraser bosses were given the boot.