JD Sports sells rugby kit brand Canterbury to Pentland for £1

Kasmira Jefford
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JD SPORTS, the sportswear retailer, has agreed to sell its Rugby brand Canterbury to its majority shareholder Pentland for £1, three years after the group bought it out of administration.

Pentland, which owns brands including Beghaus and Speedos and holds a 58 per cent stake in JD Sports, will pay a token £1 for shares in Canterbury and £22.7m for its debt.

The brand, which is the official kit partner to the Rugby Football Union, generates most of its sales in Australia and New Zealand where it recently performed well on the back of the Rugby World Cup.

But poor sales in Europe and the US dragged it to a pre-tax loss of £1.1m last year.

JD said the disposal will free up management resources to further develop its core retail business in Europe, including the recently-acquired Blacks business.

The sports retailer has also agreed to buy casual clothing brand ONETrueSaxon from Pentland for £50,000.

Both deals require shareholder approval at a meeting to be held on 13 September.

Chairman Peter Cowgill said: “Acquiring the ONETrueSaxon brand will allow us to leverage our in-house expertise and offer new products through our core retail fascias.”