More than 30 businesses are showing interest in buying the failed department store TJ Hughes as discussions to sell the company’s 57 stores across the UK continue, according to administrators Ernst & Young (E&Y).
A statement released by E&Y this morning indicates that in actively seeking the sale of the business’s assets it has appointed retail consultants GA Europe to advise on and assist with offloading stock in TJ Hughes stores.
Promotional activity will begin immediately in all TJ Hughes outlets, but there remain serious doubts over the future of the retailer’s 4,000 members of staff.
Joint Administrator at E&Y Tom Jack said: “There are significant stock levels and we therefore must ensure we are also pursuing a strategy to trade this stock through the business, in case we cannot find buyers for all of the company’s stores and employees.”
Private equity firm Endless, which backed a management buyout of TJ Hughes in the spring but was unable to turn around the company’s fortunes, has seen its debt from the business acquired by GA Europe as part of today’s deal.
Commenting when giving notice of its intention to appoint administrators at the end of last month, Endless said: “The business had a very poor 2010 and heavy losses were experienced, which led to a rescue refinancing in March of this year.
“Since this time, the business has experienced further problems with waning customer demand and loss of supplier and credit insurer support.”
Meanwhile the search for a buyer and ongoing uncertainty among TJ Hughes’ staff continues.