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Coronavirus: Go Outdoors set to call in administrators

Go Outdoors' owners say they are preparing to call in administrators as the coronavirus pandemic pushes High Street retailers to breaking point.

JD Sports, which owns Go Outdoors, said in a statement it had looked at the options for Go and had decided to start the administration process.

The chain employs about 2,400 staff across 67 stores, specialising in camping equipment, bikes and clothes.

The coronavirus pandemic has ramped up pressure on the firm.

The Manchester-based JD Sports group bought Go Outdoors in 2016 for £112m. But the chain has been struggling in recent years, and forced store closures under the coronavirus lockdown have further exacerbated the firm's problems.

The company said it had filed a notice of its intention in court, a move that protects the company from legal action and its creditors for ten days while an administrator is found.

It added it had not yet appointed anyone.

It is understood the accountancy firm Deloitte has been appointed to oversee the process, which could see the company restructured or requests made for rent cuts or "holidays" for its stores.

A spokesperson for Deloitte told the BBC it had no comment at this time.

Lockdown struggles

While non-essential retailers have since been allowed to reopen in Northern Ireland and England, analysts have questioned how comfortable customers will feel returning to the shops.

Compared with the same period in 2019, footfall was down 45.3% on the first day of reopening in England, according to retail analyst firm Springboard.

Several big brands have been struggling due to the lockdown measures introduced in March to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley and the UK arm of Victoria's Secret have all called in administrators. Last week, Poundstretcher announced that it has launched a company voluntary arrangement, an insolvency process that allows companies to continue trading while pushing through store closures and rent cuts.

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