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TJ Hughes' debt bought by liquidators

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Less than four months after a failed private equity rescue attempt, UK department store TJ Hughes' debt has been acquired by liquidators GA Europe.

GA Europe, a subsidiary of retail restructuring specialist Great American Group, has acquired TJ Hughes' debt less than four months after a private equity rescue attempt at the stricken UK department store. 

The 57-store chain fell into administration at the end of last month, calling in Ernst & Young to manage the process. 

GA said it will now work closely with Ernst & Young by trading the stores and assisting the administrator to examine the options available to TJ Hughes.

The pricing on the debt purchase has not been disclosed, while GA expects that, based on recent trading, a significant number of the stores will have to close. 

Low-price retailers Primark and B&M Bargains have been rumoured to be interested in the retail chain.

Turnaround specialists bought TJ Hughes from private equity firm Silverfleet in March but, despite an asset-backed debt facility from the Bank of Ireland that provided around £15m to £20m in working capital, failed to stay afloat. 

TJ Hughes was founded in 1912 in Liverpool, where it is headquartered. The business employs 4,000 staff nationwide and stocks a range of products including homeware, soft furnishings, beauty and fragrance, clothing, toys and electrical goods. 

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