Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has snapped up a stake in British luxury handbag company Mulberry, as the billionaire businessman seeks to rebrand his company as a premium retailer.
Sports Direct, which has recently been rebranded as Frasers Group, has taken a 12.5 per cent stake in the designer brand.
The deal signals a further step in Ashley’s brand elevation strategy, which he began with the acquisition of upmarket store concept Flannels.
In a statement to the market this evening the company said: “A key strategic priority for Frasers Group is the elevation of our retail proposition and building stronger relationships with premium third party brands.
“Frasers Group looks forward to working more closely with Mulberry for the benefit of shareholders of both companies.”
The rebranding of Sports Direct as Frasers Group was also an attempt to improve the retailer’s image, which is currently associated with its discount sporting goods chain.
Ashley is also planning to launch a chain of luxury high street stores named Frasers within the next financial year, which will feature beauty, sports and luxury fashion brands.
He previously appointed Michael Murray, his future son-in-law, as “head-of-elevation” in a bid to secure a more high-end reputation.