Iconic shoe retailer Jones Bootmaker will continue to operate in the UK, following the sale of the company to Endless, a UK-based private equity firm. The shoe retailer will see 25 of its 97 stores close, while around 840 jobs in the UK will be retained. KPMG was the joint administrator to the deal, the value of which was not disclosed.
Jones Bootmaker was founded in 1857 in London, by Alfred and Emma Jones. The company expanded on the back of the Jones’ large family, 11 sons and 3 daughters, with 9 sons opening additional stores across England. In 1955 the company joined the Church & Co group, which allowed it to continue its growth trajectory, with a further sale of the company in 2001 to a private investor. Over the years, the company grew to more than 100 branches throughout the UK. In 2015 the firm was bought out by Alteri Investors, with funding from private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
Endless is a UK-based private equity firm, focused on buyouts, non-core businesses, refinancings and turnarounds of between $10 million and $1 billion in the UK market. The firm has offices in Leeds, London and Manchester.
The sale of Jones Bootmaker to Endless was recently announced. The sale will see 72 stores sold, which secures around 840 jobs in the UK. A further 25 stores will be closed, largely due to their underperformance, resulting in the loss of around 262 jobs. The sales process was overseen by joint administrators from KPMG – the team included Partner Will Wright; Director Steve Absolom and Partner and UK Head of Restructuring Blair Nimmo.
Regarding the transaction, Wright comments that the firm is “delighted” to have been able to “rescue such an iconic UK footwear brand as Jones Bootmaker, including a high proportion of stores and preserving a large number of jobs, especially given the current economic pressures faced by retailers across the UK. This deal recognises the value of Jones as a strong and popular high street brand with a loyal customer base.”
Absolom adds, “Whilst it is always pleasing to preserve a significant number of jobs, sadly a number of redundancies are to be made at the closed stores. Over the coming days, our priority is to ensure all employees who have been affected by redundancy receive the information and guidance they need in order to claim monies owed from the Redundancy Payments Office.”