Millets to keep Oswald Bailey name for time being

Monday, 14 April 2014 7:00

More details have emerged of the deal under which JD Sports subsidiary, Millets, will take over most of the Oswald Bailey chain of outdoor stores. According to sources close to the south coast retailer, JD Sports, which acquired Baileys through its Millets subsidiary will keep or at least has acquired the right to use the Oswald Bailey name for at least the next five years. This arrangement, however, only applies to 14 of the 17 stores. The other three, which are all located in premises where the freehold is owned by the Bailey family, are not part of the deal. There has been no comment either from Millets or Oswald Bailey about job losses, although OCC Outdoor understands that the company’s warehouse based in Boscombe will close or be substantially reduced in capacity making some redundancies more or less inevitable. A statement issued by  Stephen Bailey has confirmed that the website business www.outdoorgear.co.uk will continue under the family’s ownership. It is believed that up to the point that the stores were sold, outdoorgear.co.uk was accounting for 25-30% of the group’s £8 million turnover. This latest move by JD Sports, coming as it does after the acquisition of Ultimate Outdoor and before that Tiso, has left many in the industry puzzled. One supplier close to the Bailey business told OCC Outdoor: “In one way it is a pity to see them go, but I reckon Stephen Bailey must be jumping for joy. A lot of the Oswald Bailey shops have a smaller footprint than the average Millets and so it is really hard to see what JD are gaining from this, especially as they appear to be planning to run them under their current name”.