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JJB Sports has appointed a former executive of two leading lingerie retailers to lead the first phase of a turnround at the struggling sporting goods chain.
Beverley Williams, a former commercial director and co-chief executive of La Senza who has also worked with the Contessa brand, will become interim chief executive with immediate effect following the departure of Keith Jones last week. Mr Jones stepped down as chief executive on Friday after continued poor trading at the company.
The appointment comes weeks after JJB said it would need to raise additional funds. This month the retailer said that net debt had risen to £17.7m, an increase of £2.3m in a little more than a week, against existing banking facilities of £25m. It also said trading had slipped further and it was talking to investors and suppliers about further cash injections.
Ms Williams said JJB, which has had three fundraisings and staved off administration twice in recent years, had “a great deal of potential”. She is committed to the role for an initial six months as JJB continues its search for a long-term chief executive, and she is likely to be a candidate in the process, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
In April JJB secured an investment of £20m from Dick’s Sporting Goods, the US retailer, and a £10m investment from other shareholders.
JJB is 47 per cent owned by fund manager Invesco and 29.5 per cent by Harris Associates. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation owns 5 per cent and Dick’s has 3 per cent.
Shares in JJB were down 2.5 per cent at 5.85p in midday London trading.