DW Sports Goes Into Administration in the UK, Will Close 75 Stores

As the retail rout continues in the U.S. market, chains across the pond are also grappling with major challenges. The United Kingdom-based Dave Whelan Sports Limited (DW Sports) said today it has gone into administration, which is the equivalent of bankruptcy.

The company operates 73 gyms and 75 stores — and employs 1,700 people across the portfolio.

DW Sports said 25 of the retail locations had already closed permanently in recent weeks, and the remaining units will begin going-out-of-business sales today. The DW Sports website has already shut down.

“As a consequence of COVID-19, we found ourselves in a position where we were mandated by government to close down both our retail store portfolio and our gym chain in its entirety for a protracted period, leaving us with a high fixed cost base and zero income,” group CEO Martin Long said in a statement. “Like many other retail businesses, the consequences of this extremely challenging operating market have created inevitable profitability issues. The decision to appoint administrators has not been taken lightly but will give us the best chance to protect viable parts of the business, return them to profitability and secure as many jobs as possible.”

As stores cease operations, the company said it will work with administrators to keep as many gyms as possible operable.

“Having exhausted all other available options for the business, we firmly believe that this process can be a platform to restructure the business and preserve many of our gyms for our members, and also protect the maximum number of jobs possible for our team members,” Long said in the statement.

Meanwhile, bankruptcies are piling up in the U.S. market. While the sporting goods channel continues to shrink — Modell’s Sporting Goods went bankrupt in March — much of the recent activity has been in the department store sector and mid-tier fashion space.

Yesterday, Lord & Taylor, and its parent company Le Tote, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Richmond, Va. Hours later, Tailored Brands, parent of Men’s Warehouse and Jos. A Bank, also went bankrupt in Texas.

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