T J Hughes
|Founder||Thomas J Hughes|
Number of locations
|20 (57 at peak)|
|Products||Home furnishing, Menswear, Woman's wear, Fragrance, Electricals, Toys|
|Revenue||£266.7 million (2010)|
|£9.3 million (2010)|
|Profit||£6.8 million (2010)|
|Owner||Lewis's Home Retail Ltd|
TJ Hughes is a British discount department store brand which first emerged in Liverpool in 1925 and had become a national chain with 57 shops by 2011. As of 2017, the business consists of 20 shops located in England and Scotland.
Thomas J Hughes set up a small shop on Liverpool's London Road. The store had a few assistants and Thomas J Hughes was the main shopkeeper, overseeing everything within the business. In 1925, the large department store group Owen Owen saw the need to move out of their Audley House site on London Road into the new centre of Liverpool at Clayton Square. The building was put up unsuccessfully for sale. The then chairman of Owen Owen, Duncan Norman, went to see the TJ Hughes shop.
Norman was so impressed that he agreed to let Hughes run and expand his business in Audley House for part-ownership of the business under Owen Owen. TJ Hughes then became a department store. The business was expanded by Owen Owen until being sold in the 1980s. Owen Owen later went on to purchase Lewis's, another Liverpool department store. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in May 1992. It was later acquired by JJB Sports in March 2002 for £42 million, before being sold again in a £56 million buyout backed by PPM Capital in November 2003.
During the 1990s and 2000s, TJ Hughes had taken over a number of premises formerly occupied by other retailers including Allders (Ipswich), C&A (Glasgow, Romford and Hull), House of Fraser (Sheffield & Eastbourne) and various Co-operative Group societies (Warrington, Bradford, Doncaster and Crawley).
After several years of static store numbers, expansion picked up again with three new outlets opened during 2009 to 2010, and a further four opened in the first ten months of 2010 to 2011. A number of the openings were in locations left vacant by Woolworths. TJ Hughes refuted press speculation that it was looking to develop a two hundred strong chain.
TJ Hughes was sold to Endless LLP, a turnaround specialist, for an undisclosed sum in March 2011, the 13th company in Endless' portfolio. Endless bought TJ Hughes from Silverfleet Capital, which had controlled the firm since 2003. The sale followed reports that TJ Hughes had been hit by the withdrawal of credit insurance for its suppliers after a battle to secure working capital. TJ Hughes had grown by around twenty stores since its acquisition by Silverfleet Capital in November 2003.
On 27 June 2011, TJ Hughes Limited announced that it intended to go into administration. TJ Hughes officially entered administration on Thursday 30 June 2011, with Ernst & Young appointed as administrators, putting 4,000 jobs at risk. The company launched a closing down sale in a bid to reduce stock levels.
Ernst & Young said it hoped to sell the company as a going concern, saying it was "very much business as usual" but added that it could be difficult to sell all of the stores owing to the previous trading history of TJ Hughes. The news came three days after Jane Norman, the women's wear chain, also went into administration. There were reports of a number of prospective buyers, including Primark.
On 22 July, Ernst & Young announced the company's Liverpool distribution centre would close, making 116 employees redundant. On 1 August, the TJ Hughes flagship store in Liverpool was sold to Speke-based Benross Group, who also bought three other stores, saving 442 jobs. Lewis Home Retail also bought the brand name and website.
On 4 August, Ernst & Young announced the closure of twenty two TJ Hughes stores throughout the United Kingdom, losing one thousand jobs. Store closures began on 10 August, with Shrewsbury closing its doors first. Ernst & Young announced on 20 August that the remaining unsold TJ Hughes stores would close their doors on 31 August 2011. Benross Group also bought the brand name, and the remaining six stores continued to trade as TJ Hughes.
Altogether, a total of six of the 57 TJ Hughes stores were bought out of administration by Lewis's Home Retail Ltd (part of the Benross Group). Located in Liverpool, Eastbourne, Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield and Widnes, these stores continued to trade under the TJ Hughes brand.
Since administration, new or re opened TJ Hughes stores have also been opened in the following locations:
- 2012: Birkenhead, Cannock, Middlesbrough
- 2013: Coventry, Sheffield (moved from old site which closed in the same year)
- 2014: Hartlepool, Stretford 
- 2015: Bootle, Bury, Oldham, Walsall
- 2016: Chelmsford, St Helens, Preston, Maidstone
- 2017: Chesterfield
TJ Hughes has stated that it may seek to open as many as 55 stores in total.
In December 2005, TJ Hughes launched an online store through eBay, with eBay claiming that the retailer was the first in the United Kingdom to sell its main products through the auction site. The store launched with 110 lines including DVD players, digital cameras and perfumes. TJ Hughes said its eBay shop represented an opportunity to increase sales and brand awareness.
One of the retailer's advertising tactics was to feature relatives of famous celebrities in their advertisements. For example, they used Manchester United F.C. player Wayne Rooney's brother Graeme Rooney as part of an advertising campaign.
During 2007, the company unveiled its largest advertising campaign to date. This featured celebrities’ family members, with recruits to the campaign including Carol Vorderman’s mother, Jonathan Ross’s mother and Robbie Williams’ father. The aim of the somewhat unusual series of ads was apparently to eschew passing on the costs of celebrity endorsement to customers, which TJ Hughes claims is the case for a number of its competitors.
TJ Hughes was a late runner in the e-commerce era, establishing an information website for investors and customers in 1999/2000. Although a new site was launched in 2004, this continued to offer only basic information such as current offers and store locations. In spite of this, the company reported that this site received some 17,000 hits a month, which prompted them to look at the introduction of e-commerce.
This was introduced on a trial basis in the run up to Christmas 2005, and offered 150 seasonal gifts and homewares lines.
An encouraging performance resulted in the trial being extended, with the company subsequently increasing the range of merchandise offered online, and by 2011 the company offered an extensive range of products on its website. The TJ Hughes website, designed by local digital agency YOMA, was ranked 108,004 worldwide and 5,237 in the United Kingdom according to Alexa.
TJ Hughes saw gross profits soar almost 50% a year, from £3.6m in 2003, increasing to £7.9m in 2004 with a jump to £12m in 2006. Throughout 2007, TJ Hughes's pre-tax profits were £5.1 million in the year to 26 January, up from £1.2 million the year before. Operating profit soared 299 per cent to £2.9 million.
In January 2010, accounts showed pre-tax profits increased by more than £1.5m to £6.8m. That was achieved on sales of £266.7m, an annualised rise of 4%. Although the last full financial year before Ms Tennant was appointed, to January 2007, showed pre tax profits of £1.2m, they rose to £5.1m in the year to January 2008. This was followed by profits of £5.3m the following year.
The demise of Woolworths was seen to create significant opportunities in the homewares market, although other mixed goods discounters such as B&M and Wilko, which have some overlap in terms of product offer, have also been expanding rapidly in a bid to gain some of this market share both on the high street and increasingly in out of town locations[original research?]. This is believed to be part of the reason as to why TJ Hughes entered administration.
American retailer T.J. Maxx, which also sells discounted clothing and housewares, modified its name to T.K. Maxx to avoid confusion with T J Hughes when it opened its first British store in 1994. It subsequently used the T.K. Maxx name for its other European operations.
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- "TJ TJ Hughes to reopen at its old site in Coventry's Lower Precinct". Coventry Telegraph. 2013-10-18.
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- "TJ Hughes to reopen in Stretford Mall, creating 40 new jobs". Messenger. 2014-10-08.
- "Liverpool retailer TJ Hughes to create 150 jobs at three new stores - including one in Bootle". Liverpool Echo. 2015-07-20.
- "TJ Hughes expands high street presence with new Bury store". Manchester Evening News. 2015-03-19.
- "TJ Hughes in St Helens: job adverts show popular store is coming back". Liverpool Echo. 2016-01-15.
- "TJ Hughes reveals opening date of new St Helens store".
- "Jobs boost as discount shop returns to Preston shopping centre". Lancashire Evening Post. 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- McConnell, Ed (13 March 2016). "Maidstone: TJ Hughes returns to The Mall Maidstone". Kent Online. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "TJ Hughes opens eBay shop". Telecomworldwire. 23 December 2005. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
- TJ Hughes sign Graham Rooney for advertising
- "TJ Hughes unveils e-commerce site with YOMA". The Drum. 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
- "Tjhughes.co.uk Site Info". Alexa Inc. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- T J Hughes at Buyout Track
- T J Hughes at Profit Track[dead link]
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- "TJ Hughes Enters Administration". The Daily Telegraph. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- Joachim Zentes; Dirk. Morschett; Hanna Schramm-Klein (2011). Strategic Retail Management: Text and International Cases. Gabler Verlag.