Lakeside bosses not backing JJB survival plan

LAKESIDE’S bosses Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) is refusing to back an eleventh-hour plan to stop JJB Sports from tipping into administration, piling pressure on the retailer ahead of crucial talks with its bank today (Thursday).

CSC said it would vote against the JJB’s proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a legal agreement struck with landlords that is designed to slash store rent costs – which could see up to 95 shops close possibly including the store at Lakeside putting at risk dozens of local jobs.

Kay Chaldecott, CSC’s executive director, property, told analysts that the company intended to vote against JJB’s scheme, which would affect two of its shops.

Earlier this month JJB, which employs more than 6,000 people, warned its shareholders and landlords that it would “no longer be able to trade as a going concern” if they did not support the business.

On Monday JJB cleared the first of several hurdles required to safeguard its future, raising £31.5m in new cash from investors including America’s richest man, Bill Gates, who now holds a 5.5% stake in the sportswear retailer.

The next hurdle will be presenting a restructuring plan that meets with the approval of its worried lender, the state-backed Bank of Scotland, which is now part of Lloyds Banking Group.

Industry insiders said CSC’s opposition was not unexpected, as the group would have no trouble reletting the affected stores.

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