JD Sports has bought the business and assets of Ark out of administration, saving 10 stores and the majority of the fashion retailer’s jobs.
The business, which sells leading young fashion brands as well as its own brands, will continue to trade in its current form from its Leeds office and the current management team has been retained.
The sale of the business from the administrators of Rett Retail Ltd, Begbies Traynor, secures the jobs of 160 of Ark’s 200 employees.
As part of the deal, which was negotiated by joint administrators, David Acland and Lila Thomas from Begbies Traynor, uneconomic stores in Norwich, Cambridge and Merry Hill, and the Hearts and Bows store in Manchester have closed.
A spokesperson for JD Sports Fashion Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have added the Ark fascia to our young fashion offer which brings with it some leading brands and a successful own brand offer (Cloak and Hearts and Bows).
“We look forward to supporting the established management team to develop the business further.”
Tom Edge, director of Rett Retail and Ark Fashion, added: “Becoming part of the JD group is the best deal for all those involved in Rett Retail and we look forward to working with them for an exciting future.”
David Acland, partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “This sale has protected a large number of vital jobs in the retail sector.
“At the same time, it enables JD Sports to continue its ambitious expansion plans, following on as it does from other key strategic acquisitions earlier in the year.
“It is no secret that many retail businesses are facing a hugely challenging environment at the moment, and this deal is a welcome piece of good news for the sector.”
A team from DWF led by Matthew Brown, head of the Restructuring team in Leeds, and assisted by Danielle Bennett, advised the joint administrators on the transaction.
Mr Brown said: “We are delighted to have helped support the rescue of such an iconic and well- known brand. We wish Ark every success with its future ambitions.”
Paul qualified as a chartered accountant in 1987 with Arthur Andersen an international accounting practice. He worked on audits, management consultancy and buy out due diligence before specialising in insolvency and investigations. In 1990 he was granted an insolvency licence by ICAEW.
He worked on the Robert Maxwell private company administrations in the Middle East in the early nineties and developed strong banking relationships. In 1993 he joined up again with ex-Andersen's colleague Ric Traynor as Ric's first partner in the firm which later changed its name to Begbies Traynor. Paul acts as managing partner in the Manchester office and sits on both the firm's management and technical committees. He has a reputation as a straight-talking, honest advisor who is both technically strong and commercial.