Republic co-founder invests in Endless-backed retailer

The co-founder of Republic has invested in a £70m-turnover discount warehouse retail chain alongside existing shareholder Endless.

Tim Whitworth has acquired a stake in JTF and taken the role of chairman, working alongside chief executive Paul McClenaghan and the board.

JTF currently has 12 stores across the north and Midlands and was acquired by Endless, the Leeds-headquartered private equity investor, in 2009. Since then, the retailer has opened four new stores and grown turnover to more than £70m.

The JTF investment represents the latest business added to the TIM Group Holdings portfolio. TIM Group Holdings is an independent operational investment business founded by Whitworth, with a view to driving growth and creating value in selected investment opportunities.

"JTF has a sound business model, a loyal customer base and enormous potential," said Whitworth. "The business is on a solid foundation, from this, store rollout and ecommerce seem logical next steps for the business."

Endless managing director Chris Clegg added: "Tim's involvement in JTF is a significant step forward for the business, we are particularly pleased that Tim has agreed to chair the board as well as invest alongside us.

"Tim's experience and skills align perfectly with the Board’s aspiration for JTF, and we look forward to working with him."

Whitworth, named Insider's 42 under 42er of the Decade in 2010, has worked with Endless over the past few years and acts as a supervisory board member for the new Enact Fund, which is focused on investing in smaller businesses.

He co-founded fashion chain Republic and drove a similar turnaround when in 2002 he led an MBO of the business. The chain was sold in 2010 to buyout giant TPG for £300m.