Huge payday as Go Outdoors is sold to JD Sports for £112m

John Graham, MD of GO Outdoors, in tent department of their Sheffield store
  Picture by Chris Lawton

John Graham, MD of GO Outdoors, in tent department of their Sheffield store Picture by Chris Lawton

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Go Outdoors has been sold to national retailer JD Sports.

The Sheffield business, which has 58 stores around the country, has been sold for £112.3 million.

Competition in the UK retail industry is intense

Go Outdoors founders Paul Caplan and John Graham are set to leave the business.

JD Sports chief executive Peter Cowgill said: “Go Outdoors is a great addition to our existing outdoor business.

“The minimal overlap in store locations and their out-of-town, one-stop retailer approach complements the work we have done on the high street with Blacks and Millets and further strengthens our offering in the outdoor sector.

“I am excited by the future prospects this holds for the JD Group.”

In the 53 weeks to January 31, 2016, Go Outdoors had revenues of £202.2 million with a pre-tax profit of £4.9 million.

In September, JD Sports notched up record half-year profits and announced plans to set up shop in Australia.

Rob Baxter, retail partner at KPMG, who advised Go Outdoors on the take-over, said: “Competition in the UK retail industry is intense, and this pressure is increasingly driving consolidation across the market.

“The sports and leisure sector has been particularly active in mergers and acquisitions over the past year, driven by very attractive demographic trends and a market in which a large number of retailers and brand owners compete.”

Go Outdoors opened its Sheffield store - CCC - on Bramall Lane in 1969. Since then there have been many changes, with the current management team buying CCC in 1998.

CCC changed in 2009 to Go Outdoors.

It is understood Mr Caplan has pocketed £40million, while Mr Graham has sold his stake for £15m.

In May, Go Outdoors hired accountants KPMG to explore a possible sale of the booming chain - which is in the process of creating 2,000 jobs.

At the time, Chris Matthews, chief executive, said he was in the “initial stages” of discussions with potential investors in an effort to fuel expansion.

YFM backed the original management buyout in 1998, and 3i invested £28million in the company in 2011.