Jones Bootmaker sold to shoe retailer Pavers, saving 389 jobs
Shoe retailer Pavers has confirmed it will buy Jones Bootmaker in a move that will save hundreds of jobs at the high street chain after it faced "adverse retail conditions".
It is the second time the company has changed hands in the past year, having been bought by private equity investor Endless last spring for £11 million.
"Despite substantial investment and best efforts, the recent adverse retail conditions have meant that the Jones business could not be turned around and needed to be part of a larger group," Endless said in a statement.
York-based retailer Pavers has struck a deal to buy 42 of the 47 stores from Endless, as well as the brand and website, saving 389 jobs.
The deal excludes the head office where about 50 jobs will be lost.
A further 36 jobs will be lost from the five stores not being transferred into Pavers' ownership.
Pavers managing director Stuart Paver said he was happy to be able to secure the future of hundreds of employees.
"The Jones stores and people are a huge asset to Pavers and we look forward to developing the business, and the people, over the decades to come.
"Pavers is an independent family business, as Jones used to be, and we want to re-establish these traditional family values, returning the focus at Jones to exceptional product and friendly customer service - hallmarks of what we try so hard to achieve at Pavers.
"Our plan is to grow and develop the Jones Bootmaker brand and product as a distinct offering separate from the existing Pavers retail business.
"We believe the Jones brand has an exciting future and are eager to invest in this."
The deal comes after former private equity owner Alteri filed a notice to appoint administrators for the retailer last March.
The 161-year-old British shoe brand was sold to Endless through another pre-pack administration, where the firm is placed in administration but the assets are sold immediately to a new owner.
Pre-pack deals are controversial as they often see buyers ditch unprofitable stores and avoid taking on much of the debt.
Sam Woodward of EY - which was appointed as the administrator of Jones Bootmaker on February 26 before selling the business and assets to Pavers - said: "The pressures on high street retailers and the challenging trading conditions of recent years have been well covered in the media.
"This deal will ensure that Jones Bootmaker, a brand that has built a strong and well-recognised high street and online presence over many years, can continue to evolve and prosper.
"Most importantly it means that 389 jobs have been secured and that the vast majority of stores within the estate will remain open."