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Questions raised over Flannels' expansion strategy

Premium retailer Flannels is expanding its footprint with a new Sports Direct multi-fascia store concept in Southport, as well as opening new standalone stores in Jersey and Milton Keynes.

Sports direct flannels usc for web

Sports direct flannels usc for web

The retailer will open in Southport later this month, as part of a 62,450 sq ft unit that combines Sports Direct, its fellow fashion fascia USC, and an Everlast Fitness Club gym offering memberships that start at £5 per month. The Sports Direct and USC stores opened last weekend, while the Flannels store is due to open at the end of September.

A Sports Direct spokesman described the new space as a “first of a kind shopping complex” adding: “Our customers will get the biggest brands in sportswear, sports equipment and fashion under one roof.”

However the retailer’s expansion plans have prompted questions about the new combined format and the choice of locations.

“What a bizarre idea. Flannels next to Sports Direct?,” wrote textile designer Paula Rowley on Drapers’ Facebook page.

“This is the Donnay to Dolce concept,” wrote Kevin Stone, owner of Stone Agencies.

“There isn’t a huge amount of strategy to it – if there is a decent opportunity they’ll look at it,” said a property source close to the situation. “There’s not a target list of towns as such and it’s not very scientific. I was in the Plymouth store recently and you have to wonder how many people are buying £1,200 pairs of shoes there.”

Flannels also bought the former BHS store in St Helier, Jersey, and plans to open a 35,000 sq ft store in time for Christmas. It is also currently recruiting for employees for a new store in Milton Keynes.

As previously reported by Drapers, the retailer has new store openings planned for Solihull and London’s Oxford Street next year. Flannels has recently opened a new store in Swindon and has stores in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Plymouth, Nottingham, Sunderland, Newcastle and Cardiff.

Drapers has contacted Sports Direct for further comment.


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