DISCOUNT department store chain TJ Hughes has been sold to its management in a private equity-backed deal.
The Liverpool-based firm, which has 57 stores and more than 4,000 employees, is being bought for an undisclosed sum by a team led by recently appointed chief executive Beatrice Lafon, with financing from turnaround specialists Endless.
Previous owner Silverfleet – the private equity group that snapped up shoe retail firm Office in December – had bought TJ Hughes for around £70m in 2003.
The sale follows recent reports that TJ Hughes has been hit by the withdrawal of credit insurance for its suppliers after a battle to secure working capital.
One of the UK’s biggest credit insurers, Euler Hermes, is said to have stopped providing cover to suppliers of the chain. TJ Hughes is completing a refinancing with Burdale, which is an arm of Bank of Ireland.
It is thought to have suffered difficult trading in recent months.
TJ Hughes has grown by around 20 stores since its acquisition by Silverfleet. The group is based mainly in the north of England
Gareth Whiley, partner of Silverfleet, said: “TJ Hughes has in place an excellent management team and it has been a pleasure working with them. We wish them, and Endless, every success in this next phase.”