Powerful players: Frasers Group

Based by Mike Ashley in 1982, Maidenhead (formerly Sports Direct International until 2019)

Ownership Listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, with Mike Ashley as majority shareholder (69%)

CEO Michael Murray (future son-in-law of Ashley) since May 2022

The head office Shirebrook, Derbyshire

Employees 25,000+

Latest annual business results For the year to 24 April 2022: Group revenue of £4.7bn – up 30.9% year-on-year, pre-tax profit of £366.1m – in 4,207% increase

Market capitalization £4.2 billion (as of August 15)

Total number of stores 987 stores in the UK (1,552 in total, in 25 countries)

Distribution of online/offline sales N / A

Brands The group owns several gyms, including Sports Direct Gyms and DW Fitness, as well as retail parks. This year it has sold several of its retail parks for £205m.

Acquisitions

2022

  • Australian off-price retailer MySale Group – bid to stay 72.3% for £6m on August 17, to take 100% ownership
  • I Saw It First, UK womenswear retailer – 100% off for an undisclosed sum
  • Hugo Boss – 4.9% working interest)
  • UK womenswear retailer Missguided – 100% bought from administration for £20m
  • UK value retailer Studio Retail Group – 100% bought out of administration for £26.8m

2021

  • Psyché, independent mini-channel – 100% for an undisclosed sum

2020

2019

  • UK clothing brand Jack Wills – 100% owned, bought in pre-pack administration deal for £12.8m
  • Game, UK games retailer – 100% owned, bought for £52m
  • com, UK furniture retailer – 100% owned, bought for a “token sum”

2018

  • UK cycle retailer Evans Cycles – 100% owned, bought from a pre-package administration for an undisclosed sum
  • Lovell Sports, hockey and cricket retailer – stake unknown, bought from administration for an undisclosed sum
  • House of Fraser, UK department store chain – wholly owned, bought from administration for £90 million
  • 2017/18: Sweatshop, sportswear retailer (unknown stake, acquired for an undisclosed sum)

2017

  • Flannels, high-end retail chain – boughta majority stake of 51% in 2012 for an undisclosed amount, and in 2017 acquired the brand in full
  • Tri UK, bicycle retailer – stake unknown, bought for undisclosed sum
  • Agent Provocateur, Linger retailer – Agent Provocateur partially acquired through Four Holdings in 2017

2015

  • Heatons, sporting goods chain – 100% owned, bought £40m
  • Swimwear brand Gul – participation unknown, purchased for an undisclosed sum

2014

  • Sportland International Group – 60% ownership for an undisclosed amount

2013

  • SoulCal, lifestyle clothing retailer – stake unknown, bought from administration for an undisclosed amount
  • Republic, clothing brand – 100% stake, acquired from administration for an undisclosed amount
  • Sports Eybl & Sports Experts (EAG), Austrian sportswear brand – 51% share for £8.9m

2012

  • Firetrap and Full Circle – 100% owned, saved from administration for an undisclosed sum
  • Hot Tuna, beachwear company – 100% owned, purchased for an undisclosed sum)

2011

  • USC and Cruise – bought an 80% stake for £7million in two fashion companies owned by retail magnate Sir Tom Hunter in 2011. The Frasers Group now owns 100%.
  • Van Mildert, clothing retailer – 100% owned, bought for an undisclosed sum
  • Cycling company MuddyFox – 100% owned, bought for an undisclosed sum

2010

  • Nevica, ski brand – unknown stake, purchased for an undisclosed sum

2008

  • USA Pro, sportswear brand – 100% owned, acquired from the administration for an undisclosed sum
  • Womenswear retailer Goldigga – 100% owned, bought out of administration for over £500,000

2007

  • Sports equipment retailer Everlast Worldwide Inc – 100% owned, bought for £91m

2006

2005

  • campri
  • LA equipment
  • No Fear, American extreme sports brand – 100% owned, bought for an undisclosed sum
  • Title
  • Voodoo dolls

2004

  • Karrimor, sportswear retailer – 100% owned, bought for £5m
  • Slazenger, sports equipment company – 100% owned, purchased for an undisclosed sum
  • dunlop
  • carlton

2002

  • Lonsdale – unknown stake, purchased for an undisclosed sum
  • Lillywhites, sports retailer – 100% owned, bought for an undisclosed sum

1996

  • Donnay, sports brand – 100% owned, bought for £40m

1982

  • Sports Direct – founding brand

What is his strategy? Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has taken full advantage of the long retail slump (pre and post-pandemic) by recruiting struggling businesses and adding them to its ever-growing roster of businesses.

The retail mogul’s business interests range from sportswear and lingerie to fashion and furniture.

This tactic has led Ashley to significantly extend his hold on the high street and he is often seen as one of the few money-making businessmen at a time when brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling with online stores and the drop in attendance.

The retailer has focused in recent years on an “elevating strategy” aimed at improving the perception of the retailer’s brands in order to attract more top brands to its stores. The plan has, for example, seen the retailer rapidly grow its Flannels fascia, which now has more than 50 stores across the UK, and offer a range of luxury fashion brands including Coach and Gucci.

Meanwhile, several former House of Fraser stores, including those in Belfast and Rushden Lakes in Northampton, have been converted to Frasers stores since Sports Direct International bought the department store chain in 2018. Frasers showcases the new multi-style of group life. branded store concept, home to Frasers, Flannels and Sports Direct fascias.

This year Frasers Group has also brought in womenswear retailers such as I Saw It First and Missguided, to grow its customer base and compete with rivals such as JD Sports.

These main street players are emerging relatively unscathed from the pandemic, and while they are not acquiring, they are still significant players.

The Drapers Reset Fashion Retail campaign studies the retail renaissance

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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