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Overstocks trigger freeze on buying at Sports Direct

Sportswear retailer Sports Direct has frozen buying across both clothing and footwear, after chilly weather left it stuck with excess spring stock.

The Mike Ashley-owned business is understood to have imposed a buying ban across the entire chain until either the end of June or the start of July.

One Sports Direct supplier said: “It is quite overstocked at the moment. Companies do freeze their buying from time to time but from what I understand, this has been going on for a while.”

“I don’t think the weather has helped with its stock position,” said another supplier.

One young fashion brand added that for “fast-moving lines” the retailer would take in fresh stock to replenish the best-selling products.

“Sports Direct has obviously acquired lots of new brands and with that has come extra stock, so it is very stock-rich at the moment,” the source said.

“It is still trading; it is just bringing in less stock so it can manage stock levels while selling it cheaply.”

Sports Direct this week revealed a jump in profits. In the nine weeks to March 31, gross profits increased 22.7% to £128.6m as total group sales climbed 14.3% to £317.4m. Like-for-like sales across the group’s sports retail division rose 13.6% to £264.3m, as gross profit also grew to £104.8m.

Sports Direct declined to comment on the buying freeze.

Sports Direct is not the first retailer to impose restrictions on its buying team as a result of the recent bad weather.

Last week, Drapers reported that off-price retailer TK Maxx had placed a temporary embargo on footwear after bad weather and poor sales

Readers' comments (2)

  • Makes good business sense to me.

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  • If Sports Direct are having a buying freeze, it shows how bad things are. And who can blame them? In the current climate, why buy stock you don't need for non existent consumers?

    Brands must brace themselves for a severe lack of forward business for S14 as we'll all be dragging out this summers stock next year if the weather does not improve.

    As usual, any brands with excessive minimums will be shown the door, so for the ones that don't live in the real world - and there are many - it's time to start living.

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