Home
Mike Ashley's group plans to expand Yeovil-based business to another five sites ...

Sports Direct, the stack-it-high-and-sell-it-cheap chain controlled by Mike Ashley, has made a major move into the higher end of the cycling market with the acquisition of Yeovil-based retailer TRI UK.

 Cycling Industry News reported on Sunday that Sports Direct International plc, acting through its subsidiary Sportsdirect.com Retail, had acquired the entire share capital of the tri-sports retailer, which trades from a 17,000 square foot store in Yeovil, Somerset.

According to BikeBiz, the new owners have plans for a 25,000 square foot store in Nottinghamshire, opening next January near Sport’s Direct’s own headquarters in Derbyshire, and four further stores are also planned.

Those will be in Oxford and in Kent, both scheduled to open in 2018, which will be followed by outlets in Edinburgh and Belfast.

Initially founded as Mike Ashley Sports in Maidenhead, Berkshire in 1982, Sports Direct is now the largest sporting goods retailer in the UK, with turnover of £3.2 billion in the year to April 2017 and pre-tax profit of £282 million.

The previously secretive Ashley burst into the spotlight after his acquisition of Newcastle United FC in 2007, although earlier this month he revealed that he is seeking a buyer for the club.

The business has grown in part by buying a variety of sports and outdoor brands including Donnay, Karrimor and Lonsdale, and it also owns the Muddy Fox bicycle brand

It has almost 500 stores in the UK where, besides the Sports Direct fascia, it also trades through the Field & Trek and USC chains, among others, and also operates around 280 stores elsewhere in Europe.

The company is looking to move upmarket to position itself as “The Selfridges of sports retail.”

However, it continues to come under criticism for its widespread use of zero hours contracts, allegations of poor pay and working conditions, and perceived lack of compliance with the standards of corporate governance required of a publicly listed company.

Major brands sold through TRI UK include Cannondale, Cervelo and sister brand Focus – both are owned by PON Holdings – Giant and Scott.

Russell Merry of Cannondale owner Cycling Sports Group (CSG) said “We are pleased to be a partner in TRI UK’s expansion plans.

“The cycle retail industry is constantly evolving and we are excited to be a part of the next stage of TRI UK’s growth.

“To have such a large amount of retail space for our Cannondale brand will enable us to showcase to customers the full breadth of the range – all under one roof! I am confident that the customer experience will be fantastic!”

Chris Needs, UK Country Manager for PON, commented: “Working with both brands it helps when we have retailers that are also performance focused.

“We have been working with TRI UK for many years now and they have always had that focus.

“Five weeks ago Cervélo awarded TRI UK ‘Best P5X Performance dealer in Europe’. So we are looking forward to supporting TRI UK with their expansion where possible for 2018 and beyond.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

16 comments

Avatar
Martyn_K [225 posts] 1 month ago
9 likes
Quote:

Initially founded as Mike Ashley Sports in Maidenhead, Berkshire in 1982, Sports Direct is now the largest sporting goods retailer in the UK, with turnover of £3.2 million in the year to April 2017 and pre-tax profit of £282 million.

 

Good accounting that!

Avatar
CygnusX1 [624 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

I thought the figures were swapped around - they're not. Road.cc have dropped three zeroes off the turnover:

Group revenue increased by 11.7% to £3,245.3m in the year.

Source: http://www.sportsdirectplc.com/~/media/Files/S/Sports-Direct/preliminary...

 

Avatar
KendalRed [103 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

“To have such a large amount of retail space for our Cannondale brand will enable us to showcase to customers the full breadth of the range – all under one roof! I am confident that the customer experience will be fantastic!”

I bet the current staff at TRI UK won't be that optimistic about their 'experience'. Also, had to laugh at 'The company is looking to move upmarket to position itself as “The Selfridges of sports retail.”', given it's currently the Lidl of Sports retailing. Actually that's insulting to Lidl, more the Poundland...

Avatar
jasecd [498 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

I don't care how they want to position themselves - the way that Sports Direct treats it's staff is scandalous and Ashley's contempt for them and practically everyone else means I will not be shopping there.

Avatar
nbrus [551 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Ashley must go...

Avatar
nniff [209 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

Karrimor and Field & Trek - once decent brands now trading on a par with a market stall in the rain, if that.

Avatar
nickdodo [9 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Tri Uk have given fantastic customer service. I wonder what the future will hold. 

Nick

Avatar
wycombewheeler [1237 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
nniff wrote:

Karrimor and Field & Trek - once decent brands now trading on a par with a market stall in the rain, if that.

Same could be said about muddy fox. Is this really the retail strategy the likes of Cannondale and cervelo want?

Avatar
Billy1mate [31 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

As a Tri Uk customer, I don't want to line Mike Ashley's pockets so I won't be buying anything from there again.  

Avatar
bobbypuk [57 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Lets hope it doesn't go the way of Sweatshop. Used to be a good running shop then sports direct stepped in. Now they suffer from limited range, endless pushing of their own brands, farcical returns policy and constant 'sales' meaning its impossible to  buy what you want most of the time.

Interestingly in the "About us" on their website there's lots of mention of Chris Brasher and Roger Bannister but nothing of Mike Ashley.

Wikipedia sums it up well:

In 2014 Sports Direct became a major share holder.

Sweatshop was voted "best retailer" by readers and website visitors of the British edition of Runner's World magazine each year from 2008 to 2013.

Avatar
steady lad [26 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Some Karrimor stuff is decent by the way. A pair of trail running shoes for about £30, can't fault them at all.  Could've paid £130 for some Solomon jobs but an average joe like me would be none the wiser. 

For my brothers's stag do we each had £15 each to kit ourselves out with an outfit from Sports Direct, very funny. Looked like Tyson Fury and his mates on a day out.

Cheers

Avatar
SingleSpeed [378 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Billy1mate wrote:

As a Tri Uk customer, I don't want to line Mike Ashley's pockets so I won't be buying anything from there again.  

 

To be fair I didn't much like the previous owner, but as my local Tri shop, it's the only place I'd buy my suits from especially the end of season hire stuff was a bargain.

I won't touch the place again, I will probably pop in to have a look, but I'm fairly certain it will be full of like other people have said their dire own brand crap, and a blanket no returns policy.

Avatar
jollygoodvelo [1680 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
wycombewheeler wrote:
nniff wrote:

Karrimor and Field & Trek - once decent brands now trading on a par with a market stall in the rain, if that.

Same could be said about muddy fox. Is this really the retail strategy the likes of Cannondale and cervelo want?

That's his standard MO.  Take a valuable, much-loved brand and make the products progressively more cheaply, with low quality materials and design, until the brand is worth nothing at which point you buy - or licence, see Land Rover "bikes" - another.

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet [1565 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

To be fair most of the 'brands' they buy have already had their day and can no longer shift units at premium prices anymore. Look at Firetrap, once an expensive label but people found other expensive labels and it got bought up but it was already done in the fashion world.

I remember from the skateboarding days in the 80s and 90s when Airwalk shoes and gear was premium, Vans level prices, a bit like Vision Street Wear (another Sports Direct briefly rolled out purchase) and I would pay £60 for them. Now they're about £20 and are just a name not a product with a targeted market.

Oh happy days

//static.hawaiisurf.fr/images/produits/400-400/airwalk-prototype-540-ss09-i-035635.jpg)

Avatar
Sniffer [443 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:
nniff wrote:

Karrimor and Field & Trek - once decent brands now trading on a par with a market stall in the rain, if that.

Same could be said about muddy fox. Is this really the retail strategy the likes of Cannondale and cervelo want?

He hasn't bought Cannondale and Cervelo.  he has bought a retail outlet that sells these bikes.  If he goes downmarket the brands he doesn't own can pull their arrangment.

That is not the same as the brands he has bought.  Names you know, think that might be a good price and then realise they are now just cheap shit once bought and not a bargain.  That has been part of his retail strategy.

Avatar
cyclesteffer [284 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Its an odd strategy isn't it, went to sports direct once, realised the brands in there were now utter shite, and never been back. Whereas if the quality was good, like Decathlon, they would get customer loyalty.