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Sports Direct International to rebrand as Frasers Group

Lauretta Roberts
25 November 2019

Mike Ashley is to rebrand his retail empire from Sports Direct International to Frasers Group, it has been announced.

In a stock market statement issued this afternoon the company said it was planning to stage a general meeting, scheduled for Monday 16 December, at which the name change will be proposed.

If approved the new name would be registered at Companies House immediately and the company's stock market ticker would become FRAS from 8am on the day following the General Meeting and its ISIN will remain unchanged.

Ashley has been executing an elevation strategy at his group, which includes its flagship group Sports Direct, luxury retailer Flannels, preppy fashion brand Jack Wills, USC, and House of Fraser, which will lend the group its name. It also owns a host of sports and streetwear brands.

The company said the move was “reflective of the business strategy of the company to elevate its retail proposition across all channels and demonstrates the transformation of the company over recent years into the holder of a diversified portfolio of sports, fitness, fashion and lifestyle fascias”.

It added it was once “solely a leading international retailer in sports apparel”, but is now “equally as successful in the lifestyle and luxury markets”.

Sports Direct is planning to upgrade a small number of House of Fraser stores to a new luxury format, to be called Frasers (after the historic retailer's Glasgow store). The new format will follow a similar format to Flannels with higher end luxury brands while the remainder of the House of Fraser estate will remain more mainstream.

The first Frasers store will be opened in Wolverhampton in the Mander Centre in 2020. The site is currently occupied by Debenhams which will be vacating in January. It is believed the concept will be limited to around seven stores with Belfast and Birmingham also earmarked for the make-over.

Sports Direct acquired House of Fraser out of administration in August 2018 and pledged to keep as many of its stores open as possible, although Mike Ashley has since admitted that the problems encountered at the retailer were worse than he had expected, describing some of them as "terminal". Nonetheless he says he remains committed to making it a success.

Ashley has recently said he will not be adding to his retail empire by buying any more distressed retailers unless the Government provides more protection for shareholders.

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