Updated: Friday, 3rd July 2020 @ 7:20am

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley snaps up three Manchester retailers to compete with Bury-based JD Sports

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley snaps up three Manchester retailers to compete with Bury-based JD Sports

By Dean Wilkins

Premier League club owner Mike Ashley is purchasing three independent Manchester retailers as part of a clothing chain deal to rival competitors.

The Newcastle United chief has bought 51% of Cheshire-born business Flannels from Neil Prosser – who opened the first store in Knutsford in 1976.

Ashley’s Sports Direct business will acquire six new stores across the country in Leeds, Nottingham, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester – as well as a factory outlet in Salford Quays and Life in Manchester.

Flannels is one of the UK’s largest independent retailers and will bolster Ashley’s books as he battles Bury-based retailers JD Sports to build up a premium clothing division.

Sports Direct now have stakes in USC, Cruise and Van Mildert, while competitors JD Sports own Bank, Scotts and Cecil Gee.

Mr Prosser will retain a 49% stake in Flannels and will continue as managing director.

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