November 25, 2019 / 4:24 PM / 15 days ago

Sports Direct to change name to Frasers Group

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Sports Direct International (SPD.L), the sporting goods retailer founded and controlled by Mike Ashley, is to rebrand as Frasers Group, it said on Monday.

Sports Direct said the rebranding, which is subject to shareholder approval at a Dec. 16 meeting, is being undertaken “to reflect the changing profile and consumer proposition of the group.”

The group purchased the House of Fraser department store chain out of administration for 90 million pounds ($115 million) in August last year - a decision Ashley said in July may have been a mistake.

Sports Direct was founded by Ashley as a single store in Maidenhead, southern England, in 1982. It now employs 29,400 in 20 countries across six business segments - UK Sports Retail, Premium Lifestyle, House of Fraser Retail, European Sports Retail, Rest of World Retail and Wholesale & Licensing.

The choice of the new brand reflects what Sports Direct calls its “elevation strategy”, encompassing the group as a whole.

It said the proposed rebrand follows its decision to bring Frasers “luxury lifestyle stores”, to the high street within its next financial year - 2020-21.

“The decision to rebrand the group as Frasers reflects the fact that this new, elevated concept will house the core areas of focus for the wider business – iconic brands, beauty, sports and luxury fashion,” it said.

In July, Sports Direct reported a 6% fall in core earnings for the 2018-19 year and warned it could face a 674 million euro bill from Belgium’s tax authority.

Shares in the firm, 63.3% of which are owned by Ashley, closed up 1.1%, taking gains for 2019 to 43% and valuing the group at about 1.8 billion pounds.

Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle

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