1. News
November 26, 2018

Sports Direct founder to close 17 stores across UK

Sportswear retailer Sports Direct International owner Mike Ashley is reportedly planning to close 17 stores located in Intu Properties owned shopping centres across the UK.

Sportswear retailer Sports Direct International owner Mike Ashley is reportedly planning to close 17 stores located in Intu Properties owned shopping centres across the UK.

The Sunday Times reported that the move is in retaliation to the failed talks with Intu regarding the renewal of the House of Fraser (HoF) rent agreements.

The 17 outlets intended for closure are under Sports Direct, HoF, Flannels, USC and Evans Cycles brands.

According to Ashley, the store closures “will cost more than £25m a year in lost rent and service charges”.

“It is unrealistic for Intu to continue to enjoy a long-term relationship with our retail businesses.”

Ashley was quoted by the news agency saying: “Intu has demonstrated it is unwilling to help retailers save stores and jobs. It is unrealistic for Intu to continue to enjoy a long-term relationship with our retail businesses.”

Earlier this month, the company announced that it will shut four HoF stores located at Intu shopping centres in Lakeside, Metrocentre, Norwich and Nottingham.

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In a separate development, Mike Ashley has been allowed to attend a select committee in Westminster on 3 December.

A spokesman for Sports Direct said: “The MPs originally wanted somebody from House of Fraser to speak for about 15 minutes as part of a panel of four, and said they didn’t mind who it was. Mike thought that wouldn’t achieve anything, so instead he demanded to go along in person for a full hour.”

To date, Sports Direct has saved more than 20 HoF stores, including the one in Glasgow.

Ashley added: “Since we acquired House of Fraser, we’ve been working around the clock to save as many stores and jobs as possible.

“I believe politicians and landlords should be doing more to save our struggling high streets, so I intend to make the most of this opportunity to make a real difference.”