USC (clothing retailer)
|Founder||Angus Morrison and David Douglas|
Number of locations
|UK and Cavan|
The first USC store opened in 1989 in Edinburgh and specialised in sports clothing. USC originally stood for 'United Sports Corporation' and was founded by Angus Morrison and David Douglas.
The company entered into administration on 29 December 2008, and 15 stores were closed. The remaining 43 stores were bought in a pre-packaged deal by Dundonald Holdings Ltd, also owned by Sir Tom Hunter.
In July 2011, Tom Hunter sold 80% of USC to Mike Ashley's Sports Direct chain. In early 2012, Sports Direct bought the remaining 20% and now fully own the business. USC's Head Office still remains in Dundonald, Ayrshire.
On Thursday 8 January 2015, City A.M. reported that Mike Ashley was preparing to place USC into administration, after filing a notice of the intention to appoint receivers at the High Court on Wednesday 7 January 2015. It was further reported by City A.M. that Duff & Phelps will act as the administrators. On the morning of Wednesday 7 January 2015, dozens of staff at the USC warehouse in Dundonald Ayrshire were given their notice of redundancy when trucks from Sports Direct arrived at the warehouse to take goods to Shirebrook, Nottingham.
In the two preceding months leases for many of USC's stores were transferred to Republic, and the USC trademark was transferred to another Sports Direct company. In October 2015 the chief executive of Sports Direct, David Forsey, was charged with a criminal offence for consultation failures over USC staff who only had 15 minutes notice of redundancy.
On January 16, 2015, USC was bought out of administration by another Sports Direct holding company, Republic Retail Limited. Although controversial as a pre-packed administration this move allowed the existing stores and remaining staff to continue to trade. Sports Direct received criticism by MPs for refusing to pay suppliers such as Diesel and laying off staff with only fifteen minutes notice.
Prior to the administration USC had been trading at a loss and had issues with its trade credit insurance, meaning that suppliers were not covered for lost stock if the company had collapsed. The company owed money to Diesel who issued a winding up order to attempt to recoup the debt; which is what triggered USC's administration.  It was revealed that Diesel had severed a fifteen-year relationship with USC the year before.
As of February 25, 2015, the administration process wiped £15.3 million worth of debt, leaving £15.2 million remaining owed to creditors. Of this amount USC owes £14.3 million to trade and expense creditors, £576,499 to HMRC and £286,333 in issued gift vouchers.
- Hunter steps in to snap up clothing chain USC in GBP 45m deal
- "Fashion chain jobs under threat". BBC News. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
- "Jobs under threat after USC deal". BBC News. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
- Thompson, James (29 December 2008). "USC set to enter administration". London: The Independent. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Sibun, Jonathan (30 December 2008). "USC in administration: Sir Tom Hunter buys 43 stores". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Goldfingle, Jemma (18 July 2013). "Republic and USC to merge and brands decide which name stays, says Sports Direct boss Dave Forsey". Retail Week. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "We've joined forces". USC. 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Simon Goodley (11 December 2015). "Revealed: how Sports Direct stripped USC assets before it collapsed". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- Simon Goodley, Sarah Butler (9 October 2015). "Sports Direct chief executive charged over USC administration". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- Noel O'Reilly (21 October 2015). "Company directors face criminal charges over redundancies". Personnel Today. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- Anderson, Elizabeth (16 January 2015). "USC bought out of administration by Republic". The Daily Telegraph. London.