UK-based retailer JD Sports said today that it is looking at a number of “strategic options” for outdoor specialist subsidiary Go Outdoors (Go) after announcing intentions to appoint administrators for the brand on Friday.

In the statement, JD Sports said: “The Group can confirm that it has considered a number of strategic options for Go and that Go’s directors have lodged the Notice in Court. This Notice creates an immediate moratorium around the company and its property which lasts for ten business days. During this moratorium, Go’s creditors cannot take legal action or continue with any existing legal proceedings against the company without the Court’s permission.”

JD Sports has lined up accountancy firm Deloitte for brand restructuring, which could end up in the job losses across Go Outdoors’ 2,340-strong workforce according to The Times.

What could the future hold for Go Outdoors?

AskTraders senior market analyst Nigel Frith thinks that the future of Go Outdoors will be interesting to observe in both the coming weeks and months. He theorises that there could be an increase in sales for the business due to ‘staycations’ amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Frith said: “Go Outdoors might even see an increase in sales from British holidaymakers deciding on ‘staycations’ instead of going abroad because of the global pandemic. People might start deciding on hiking holidays within the UK, and Go Outdoors might even see an increase in camping or fishing holidays – which is another chance for the store to make revenue.

“In order to have the best possible outcome, JD Sports, who own Go Outdoors, need to be strategic – they need to have a clear direction of where they want to go. It’s evident that the coronavirus has destroyed some of the high streets – but most of the time those said retail stores were struggling even beforehand. Unlike other retail brands, Go Outdoors can now entice customers to purchase items for a staycation holiday.”

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White-label fintech Loyalize CEO David John also thinks there could be hope for companies such as Go Outdoors, providing the retailer utilises online technology.

John said: “Although non-essential retailers such as Go Outdoors were allowed to open last week, there are now more questions about how comfortable customers are returning to shops. Analytics firm Springboard reported that footfall was down 45.3% on the day of reopening compared with the same period in 2019.

Innovation in technology will play a significant role in a post-Covid-19 world, as bricks-and-mortar retailers seek to rebuild trust with consumers who have become more comfortable – and feel safer – shopping online. To lure customers back in store, retailers should be examining and leveraging the datasets they keep on customers and their purchases, to create tempting offers and campaigns via digital channels that drive footfall, even as the pandemic carries on.”

“It is just too little too late for some of the big-name brands like Go Outdoors.”

Retail expert and online price-tracking website Alertr co-founder Andy Barr, on the other hand, thinks that it is “too little too late” for Go Outdoors to see a resurgence.

Burr said: “Despite non-essential shops reopening, it is just too little too late for some of the big-name brands like Go Outdoors. It seems that the long list of retailers that were struggling before the pandemic are the ones worst hit and falling short of sales.

“It is easy to say that everything happens for a reason and this may only be a good thing to revive the high streets with potentially new stores and to be out with the old, in with the new. But it is still such a shame to see so many retailers up and down the country closing their doors for good when they have been around for so many years.

“As the country still faces the uncertainty of a second wave of coronavirus […] camping may be the last thing on people’s minds and Britons aren’t looking to unnecessarily splash the cash so, despite being open, Go Outdoors won’t see long queues like shops such as Primark have experienced over the past few week or so.”

Further restructuring across UK retail to be expected

Keystone Law corporate recovery and insolvency specialist Patrick Elliot said that Go Outdoors going into administration is just the “tip of the iceberg” in the retail industry.

Elliot said: “The news that Go Outdoors has entered into a pre-pack administration is just the tip of the iceberg for the increasing number of restructurings we will see in the retail sector in the months to come. Retailers have tried to survive on government support through furloughing staff, loans and VAT deferral, but for many this isn’t enough.

“Most will need an immediate rebound to survive, but customers are scared to go back to shops and online just doesn’t fill the gap for most retailers. For those businesses who were in difficulty before the pandemic, Covid-19 has just delayed the inevitable.”