Sports Direct has bought 116 Republic stores and its website, saving 2,100 jobs of the fashion chain which fell into administration a few weeks ago. The sportswear giant has also purchased Republic’s stock, and its brands, including SoulCal, Fabric and Crafted. Joint administrators from Ernst & Young confirmed the sale, which would include the head office in Leeds. The acquisition of Republic stores comes close on the heels of news that Mike Ashley put up 25m shares of Sport Direct on sale to raise £100m.
Republic, which went into administration on February 13, offers casual fashion, under multiple brands to young adults, including the Jack Jones and SoulCal labels. Regarding the sale of Republic stores to Sports Direct, administrator Hunter Kelly said, “In what has been a very challenging time and volatile climate for retailers, it is particularly pleasing to have completed the successful sale of Republic (Retail) Limited, saving 2,100 jobs across the UK high street and at its Leeds-based headquarters.”
Sports Direct fought off stiff competition from young fashion retailer Blue Inc and the family behind Matalan, which were also vying to snap up Republic stores. The majority stake owner in Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, who has orchestrated many deals in the retail sector, was understood to be keen to find a chain that would suit his growing stable of brands, which include Firetrap. Republic suited his needs just right. As per retail analyst, Nick Bubb, Mike Ashley sold a partial stake in Sports Direct to enhance liquidity in the stock, to ensure that there is free circulation of shares to make buying and vending them easier.
Sports Direct has put up a clearance sale on its website offering huge discounts on clothes under categories named: Men’s sale, Women’s sale and Kids’ sale.