Sports Direct targets Australia and New Zealand [Western Morning News (England)]
(Western Morning News (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sports Direct is to enter the Australian and New Zealand markets for the first time after signing a partnership with online discount retailer MySale. The sports retailer, which has around 400 UK stores and operations in 19 countries in Europe, will open three flagships stores in Australia and one in New Zealand as well as set up an online joint venture.
Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United Football Club owner Mike Ashley, who owns 58% of the firm, has cut the deal with MySale unit OzSale.com.au, which will give the sports retailer access to the online group's 12 million members. This deal comes a month after Sports Direct bought a 4.8% stake in MySale worth around Pounds 15 million, which in turn came just two days after the online business floated in London raising Pounds 40 million to expand its operations.
The Australian and New Zealand websites will launch later this year, and Sports Direct plans to begin opening its stores 'down under' at around the same time.
Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said: "It will be great to enter these markets, where sport is a way of life." On Thursday Sport Direct is expected to report underlying earnings up 13.6% to Pounds 327.1 million for the year to April 14, on the back of strong organic growth, European acquisitions and rising online sales.
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