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Hundreds of jobs threatened at Evans Cycles despite Ashley rescue

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Half of Evans Cycles’ 60 stores are to close, despite Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct rescuing the chain out of administration.

The retail tycoon, who in August also bought House of Fraser in a so-called pre-pack deal, said: “We are pleased to have rescued the Evans Cycles brand.

“However, in order to save the business we only believe we will be able to keep 50% of stores open in the future.

“Unfortunately some stores will have to close.”

Sky News reported that Sports Direct was thought to be the front-runner to secure Evans, which employs around 1,300 staff, after the UK’s biggest bikes retailer, Halfords, dropped its interest almost a week ago.

House of Fraser
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Sports Direct plans to turn House of Fraser into the ‘Harrods of the High Street’

Evans, which had been seeking urgent new investment, went into administration earlier on Tuesday before Mr Ashley’s rescue could take effect.

Such an agreement gives greater flexibility on the purchase of parts of the business.

Sports Direct’s statement said landlords of Evans sites would be contacted over the next few days to enable discussions on the future of individual stores.

The deal marks the latest in a string of rescues, closures and consolidation on the high street as retailers grapple with a perfect storm of higher costs and weaker consumer spending.

Matt Callaghan, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “2018 has been a very difficult trading year for the business, in part due to the impact of the extended winter weather in the early part of the year and a lack of cash to invest in stores and develop the online platform.

“A combination of losses, the capital expenditure requirements and tightening credit has led to a liquidity crunch.”

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