Dozens of Kent jobs saved by Republic sale
Republic store in Maidstone's Fremlin
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
More than 2,000 jobs - including dozens in Kent - have
been saved after the sale of 116 stores of struggling fashion
The stores in Canterbury (Whitefriars), Maidstone (Fremlin
Walk), Tunbridge Wells (Royal Victoria Place) and Bluewater, are
among the outlets sold by administrators Ernst & Young to
Sportdirect.com Retail for an undisclosed sum.
The deal - which includes the brand, stores and head office
in Leeds - has saved 2,100 jobs nationwide.
Until it collapsed into administration, Republic employed 2,500
people, but 150 jobs were axed in Leeds.
Republic specialises in young designer fashion, but has been hit
by the spending downturn, especially in the youth fashion market,
as well as fierce competition from Primark and online
Republic was owned by private equity group TPG and has been
particularly strong in the north where recession has hit harder
Hunter Kelly, joint administrator, said it was a challenging
time and volatile climate for retailers which made the sale
"The brand Republic is well recognised and well respected by
customers for offering quality, high fashion goods and it is a
testament to its strength that Sports Direct has made this
investment to secure its future and high street presence," she
The business began as a men's denim retailer in 1986 under the
Best Jeans brand in Leeds. It currently offers casual fashion,
under multiple brands to young adults, including Jack Jones and
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