Apr 21, 2017

Sports Direct makes move into US with $101m deal

Sportswear tycoon Mike Ashley is mounting his first adventure in the fiercely competitive American market as his Sports Direct chain takes control of 50 US stores by buying two retailers out of bankruptcy. The $101m acquisition of Bob's Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports will "Provide Sports Direct with a footprint in US bricks-and-mortar retail and a platform from which to grow US online sales", the company said on Friday. Sports Direct makes two-thirds of its revenue from the UK. But the company has 233 stores elsewhere, including former branches of Heatons, the Irish department store chain that Mr Ashley's company acquired in 2015. Analysts say his company's 2013 takeover of two Austrian chains, Sports Eybl and Sports Experts, met with scepticism from local consumers, who prefer high-end local brands to the British chain's in-house offerings. Vestis Retail Group, which previously operated the two US chains, filed for bankruptcy protection last year amid a torrid spell for US retailers that has triggered sweeping store closures at Macy's and JCPenney, as well as the high-profile failure of Sports Authority last year.

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