Sports Direct moves into fashion, buying USC and Cruise

The sports retail giant has brought an 80% stake in two high street clothing shops, owned by retail tycoon Sir Tom Hunter.

Paying £7million to take control, Sir Tom will retain a mere 20% shareholding, whilst Sports Direct will take control of the stores that specialise in fashion clothing.

With 38 stores in the UK USC had sales of £70m last year, whilst Cruise is a smaller brand with 10 UK stores and an annual turnover of about £20m.

The founder of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley (founder of Newcastle United) will be providing upto £20million to develop both the businesses.

Speaking of the deal, Sir Tom said: “This deal will transform the prospects for both USC and Cruise and our employees at a time of extraordinary turbulence in the High Street,”.

“I’ve known the Sports Direct team for many years and have huge respect for their talent and look forward to co-investing with them.”

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said: “While USC and Cruise will remain independent of Sports Direct, we will support the businesses with our operational expertise.”

Information has suggested that rival JD Sports was also interested in this deal but lost out.