Sep 11, 2019

Mike Ashley: I want to be one of the big fish

Mike Ashley has defended Sports Direct's strategy and said he still has faith in High Street retail. Mr Ashley owns 62% of Sports Direct shares, but at Wednesday's meeting nearly a quarter of Sports Direct independent shareholders registered unhappiness with his strategy. While Mr Ashley said it was clear that online shopping was eating into High Street sales, he said Sports Direct was not alone in continuing to put its faith in "Bricks and mortar" retail, citing TK Maxx, Primark and Next. In such circumstances the government can step in to appoint an auditor, a move which Mr Ashley said he would not oppose as long as the firm was of sufficient calibre. Mr Ashley said if one of the big four took on the challenge of being Sports Direct's auditors he would pay them £2m and they would only need to cover one year.

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