Sports Direct to try again with customer credit plans
Sports Direct is looking to revive plans to launch financial services for consumers as it searches for new avenues for growth.
The retail group owned by Mike Ashley is believed to be interested in offering credit for shoppers, emulating Next’s credit business which has 2.5 million customers, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Sports Direct first started looking at the option of selling on credit via its website in 2014, but decided to shelve the project a year later following several scandals related to the working conditions in its UK warehouse.
Chris Wootton, deputy finance chief at Sports Direct, told The Telegraph that credit for shoppers was “on the agenda, but that the company would be careful “because we don’t want a situation where someone ends up paying £1,000 for a football”.
Mike Ashley has made his name by building a retail empire from a single shop in Maidenhead. His group of brands now include Flannels, Agent Provocateur, House of Fraser and Evans. But his efforts to further expand the business have faced resistance in the past few months, with his proposed £140m takeover of Studio.co.uk parent owner Findel branded an “opportunistic” move by its board of directors.
Mike Ashley is also embroiled in a row with Debenhams for trying to install himself as chief executive director. Sports Direct, which has a near 30% stake in the department store chain, has been trying to take control of Debenhams for months and is believed to be considering a £61.4m bid.
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