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Sports Direct plans Frasers name change – to reflect upmarket multichannel ambitions

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Sports Direct is looking to change its name to Frasers Group – a name that it says better reflects its upmarket multichannel aspirations. 

The retailer, which bought the department store House of Fraser out of administration last year, will ask shareholders to approve the name change at a general meeting next month.

Sports Direct says that the new name will be a better fit for its “multichannel elevation strategy to achive an unrivalled multi-brand offering to customer across sport, lifestyle and fashion”.

In the notice of a general meeting, Sports Direct non-executive chair David Daly said: “The board believes that the change of the name of the company from Sports Direct International plc to Frasers Group plc is 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.” 

The general meeting will be held on the morning of December 16 in London – the same day as its half-year results are reported. Those results may well show more detail on the plan for House of Fraser, one of the range of new businesses that Sports Direct, led by founder and chief executive Mike Ashley, has bought over the 18 months. As well as House of Fraser, the retailer has bought Evans Cycles, and Game Digital. 

‘Multichannel elevation strategy’

Sports Direct set out its thinking around a multichannel elevation strategy in its last full-year results, published in July. Then Ashley described the strategy as one that grew out of the insistence some years ago by third-party brands that Sports Direct should move away from its traditional ‘stack them high, sell them low’ discount model and instead sell through a new generation of stores. It intended to build on its strategy through the acquisition of House of Fraser – and it spent £95m on the freehold of the flagship Frasers store in Glasgow with the intention of creating the Harrods of the North.

Currently, House of Fraser has 51 stores. That’s down from the 59 that it had at the time that Sports Direct bought the business, in August 2018, but more than it would have had if House of Fraser had gone ahead with pre-administration plans to close 31 shops. 

Image courtesy of House of Fraser

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