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Sports Direct Buys Republic After It Fell Into Administration, Saving 2,100 Jobs

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Sports Direct has bought up the brand, stores and stock of struggling retailer Republic, saving 2,100 jobs | Alamy

Sports Direct has become this week's high street hero by saving the jobs of 2,100 people, after it bought struggling retailer Republic.

The sale of the business includes the brand, 116 stores and the head office in Leeds.

Joint administrator at Ernst & Young Hunter Kelly said in a statement: "In what has been a very challenging time and volatile climate for retailers, it is particularly pleasing to have completed the successful sale of Republic saving 2,100 jobs across the UK high street and at its Leeds-based headquarters.

"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.

"We are extremely grateful for the support and loyalty showed by all employees and customers during what has been an uncertain time, and would like to thank everyone at Republic for their commitment and hard work during the administration process."

Republic 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 SoulCal.

It fell into administration on 13 February, 2013 after struggling to compete with competitors, particularly during the crucial Christmas season.

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley sold a 4% chunk of his stake in Sports Direct for £100m earlier this week, the first time the Newcastle United owner has sold down his shareholding since he floated the company in 2007.

At a price of 300p, he made around £100 million from the move. At the time, rumours were rife in the City that Ashley was interested in making a bid for Republic.

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