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JD Sports completes sale of fashion brands to Frasers but Rascal withdrawn from deal

Lauretta Roberts
08 February 2023

JD Sports has completed the sale of its 'non-core UK fashion brands', including luxury retailers Giulio, Tessuti and Cricket, to rival fashion and sports group Frasers but has revealed that boys and men's sports etailer Rascal Clothing has been withdrawn from the deal. 

It was announced at the end of last year that JD Sports would offload a raft of businesses to Frasers – where they will join brands such as Flannels, House of Fraser and USC – following a review of the business by its new CEO Régis Shultz.

Rascal Clothing, which was originally slated for sale, has been withdrawn from the deal, however, after one of its founders exercised a pre-emption right that was agreed as part of JD Sports' acquisition of the business back in February 2019. The divestment of Rascal Clothing, which was founded by freestyle footballers Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch, was completed on 6 February 2023.

JD said it expected that the divestment of the business which traded as Topgrade Sportswear to be completed in due course and that, despite the removal of Rascal Clothing, "all the terms of the transaction remain as outlined in the announcement made on 16 December 2022."

The full list of the businesses included in the original deal are listed below, but JD Sports has held on to a select group of branded fashion retailers including Oi Polloi, Hip Store, Wellgosh, Philip Brown, 80s Casual Classics and Mainline Menswear.

Last week Régis Schulz outlined his new vision for the JD Sports group, which includes a focus on its core businesses (taking a "JD brand first" approach) and the opening of new stores at a rate of 250 to 350 per annum in "underpenetrated markets".

Schultz joined JD Sports in September last year taking over from its former longstanding chairman and CEO Peter Cowgill, who had overseen the rapid expansion of the business since he joined in 2004, establishing it as the "King of Trainers". Cowgill had come under pressure from shareholders to resign last May as the group was obliged to sell off 2019 acquisition Footasylum, following an inquiry by the Competitions and Markets Authority. Footasylum had been acquired for £90 million and sold to PE house Aurelius Group for £37.5 million.

Frasers too is under new management with Michael Murray, taking over the reins as CEO from his father in law and the group's founder Mike Ashley. Ashley had Cowgill had been fierce rivals and a deal between the two groups would appear to have been unlikely under the old guard.

Read our recent analyis 'Has JD handed the branded fashion sector to Frasers' here. 

Main image: Tessuti at Liverpool ONE

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