Frasers Group

Companies

Description

Frasers Group plc (formerly known as Sports Direct International plc) is a British retail, sport and intellectual property group, named after its ownership of the department store chain House of Fraser. The company is best known for trading predominantly under the Sports Direct brand which operates both physical outlets and online. Other retailers owned by the company include Jack Wills, GAME, Flannels, USC, Lillywhites and Evans Cycles. The company owns numerous intellectual property, including the brands Everlast, Lonsdale, Slazenger and No Fear. The group also expanded into operating fitness clubs, launching the Everlast Fitness Club chain in 2020.

Operations

The group has over 470 UK stores including the chains Sports Direct (Sports World prior to 2008), Lillywhites, House of Fraser, Flannels, Evans Cycles, Sofa.com, Field & Trek and USC. Sports Direct-branded stores exist under a franchising agreement in South Africa and the Middle East. In 2006 it overtook JJB Sports as the UK's largest sportswear retailer.

Acquisitions

Dunlop

In February 2004, the company acquired Dunlop Slazenger for around £40 million, which included the Dunlop, Slazenger and Carlton brands. This was followed by the acquisitions of outdoor gear manufacturer Karrimor in March for a reported £5 million. In 2006 he acquired Kangol for an estimated £12 million. Most of these brands were bought from distressed sellers. After looking at a takeover, Sports Direct took a £9 million stake and signed a lucrative long-term deal in August 2005 with troubled brand Umbro, which was subsequently sold to Nike.

The brands themselves are an increasingly important part of the business, and Sports Direct made £10 million, from selling the intellectual-property rights to the Slazenger Golf brand to arch-rival JJB in 2005.

In 2016, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, a global tyre, sports goods, and industrial rubber products manufacturing company based in Kobe, Japan, filed for regulatory approval before the Philippine Competition Commission in connection with its planned acquisition of Dunlop-related wholesale, manufacturing, and licensing business from Sports Direct.

Sumitomo Rubber intended to acquire the entire issued share capital of Dunlop Brands Limited, Dunlop Slazenger 1902 Limited, and Dunlop Australia Limited, and the Dunlop-related business of Dunlop Sports Group Americas, Inc. which are subsidiaries of Sports Direct.

The Philippine Competition Commission approved the regulatory filing for the said acquisition. The acquisition allowed Sumitomo Rubber to consolidate the Dunlop brand across various products including sports goods worldwide.

Other acquisitions and closures

On 10 August 2018, the House of Fraser entered administration. Later that day, Sports Direct agreed to buy all House of Fraser UK stores, the House of Fraser brand, and all of the stock in the business for £90 million in cash, converting all old House of Fraser stores into Sports Direct. Prior to the company entering administration, Sports Direct's Mike Ashley held an 11% stake in the company.

On 30 October 2018, Evans Cycles was purchased by Sports Direct in a pre-pack administration deal.

In February 2019 the group acquired Sofa.com for a nominal sum.

On 5 August 2019, Sports Direct purchased Jack Wills out of administration for £12.7 million after winning a competition against Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

On 24 August 2020, it was announced that Frasers Group would buy "certain" assets from DW Sports Fitness for £37m, but would not be using the firm's brand name. Also in August 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ashley threatened landlords with House of Fraser store closures.

In December 2020, Debenhams announced it was going into liquidation, putting 12,000 jobs in 124 UK stores at risk unless the administrators could find buyers for all or parts of the business. Frasers Group was reported to be in talks to acquire Debenhams, though it was later reported that Ashley was mainly interested in using empty Debenhams stores to expand his other chains, including House of Fraser, Sports Direct and Flannels; taking 'vacant possession' would avoid redundancy costs for existing staff.

In January 2021, it was announced that the Jenners House of Fraser store in Edinburgh was closing for good and 200 jobs would be lost.

In April 2021 the group announced it had doubled the hit it expects to take from the coronavirus pandemic to £200 million.

In February 2022, the group announced it had purchased some of the assets of the Studio Retail Group from administration.

On 1 June 2022, it was revealed that the group had bought the intellectual property of Missguided and its sister brand Mennace for about £20 million, after they went into administration the previous day.

In November 2022, it was announced Frasers Group had acquired one of London's oldest bespoke tailors, Gieves & Hawkes.

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Company Persons

Founder of Frasers Group
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