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Crucial days ahead for sports stores

Monday, 17th February, 2014 8:31pm

Crucial days ahead for sports stores


Ten Lifestyle Sports shops face the threat of closure as the company is seeking rent reductions at the ten stores, while an interim examiner has been appointed to Elverys Sports.
Both chains operate stores in Athlone, with Lifestyle Sports having a shop in Golden Island Shopping Centre, while Elverys operates stores in both Golden Island and Athlone Towncentre.
Lifestyle Sports is owned by the Stafford Group, which has called a creditors meeting to appoint a liquidator to Pombury, an insolvent subsidiary of the Stafford Group that owns the lease on the ten Lifestyle stores in question.
It has already negotiated rent reductions on 57 of its 67 stores and these have been transferred over to an entity called Lifestyle Sports (Ireland). The company is now hoping to negotiate with the landlords of the ten properties ahead of the creditors meeting on Wednesday, February 19.
However, if agreement is not reached it is prepared to close the ten stores, but has not elaborated on which stores these are. The company said that if any stores close as a result of Pombury going into liquidattion, the staff in the shops will be reassigned to other stores.
Meanwhile, an interim examiner was appointed by the High Court to Elverys Sports last Wednesday.
The move followed a petition by NAMA after a pre-pack receivership of the company ahead of a managment buyout unravelled. The High Court was told that the board of the company that owns Elverys Sports, Staunton Sports, supported the petition for the appointment of an interim examiner.
The court heard that NAMA was optimistic in relation the company continuting as a going concern and it had a good prospect of surviving as there are two rival bidders; the existing management and Sports Direct.
Sports Direct is owned by UK billionaire Mike Ashley.
A judge has continued High Court protection for Elverys Sports after receiving an independent accountant’s report expressing the view the company had a reasonable prospect of survival.
Last Friday, NAMA secured interim court protection and an interim examiner for the company.
Tomorrow Tuesday 18 February has been fixed for the hearing of NAMA’s petition seeking to confirm examinership for the company.


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