Mike Ashley swoops on HMV’s flagship store and Gelert brand

Kasmira Jefford
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SPORTS Direct is poised to open a new flagship store in the West End after striking a deal to take on HMV’s 150 Oxford Street store.

The sportswear giant, led by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, is understood to have exchanged contracts to take on HMV’s lease at the 60,000 square feet store.

It will be Sports Direct’s first flagship on Oxford Street, although it does have a smaller store inside the Plaza shopping centre at the eastern end of the street.

The deal comes after HMV’s owners Hilco, which bought the chain out of administration in April, agreed earlier this month to move back to its original flagship at 363 Oxford Street, which is currently occupied by the US chain Footlocker.

Sports Direct is understood to have paid a premium of between £2.5m-£5m for the store, which is owned by Langham Estates and has an annual rent of around £3.2m.

Separately the group announced yesterday it has bought outdoors brand Gelert out of administration, just months after rescuing the collapsed fashion chain Republic.

Gelert has five stores in Wales and Ireland and is based in Merseyside from where it runs its wholesale business.

Sports Direct is looking to grow its outdoors arm and already owns Field & Trek and the Karrimor brand.

The deal will secure around 100 jobs.