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Sports Direct pushes for Lillywhites in HoF

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey has reportedly held talks with House of Fraser about introducing Lillywhites shop-in-shops into some of the group’s department stores.

The talks between the sportswear retailer and HoF chief executive Nigel Oddy are at an early stage, according to The Sunday Telegraph, and the department store chain has already rejected the idea of taking on Sports Direct branded shop-in-shops in-store.

Sports Direct acquired Lillywhites in 2002 from Portugal’s Jerónimo Martins.

The founder of Sports Direct Mike Ashley wants to extend Sports Direct’s reach overseas and has floated the idea of rolling out Lillywhites in China using HoF’s Chinese owner Sanpower’s connections. However there are concerns about Lillywhite’s potential in Asia, as the majority of sportswear brands are already available at low prices in China.

Sanpower has committed to spending £25m on opening House of Fraser shops in China over the next two years and revamping the group’s existing UK shops.

Ashley owns an 11% stake in HoF but it does not entitle the retailer to a seat on the board.

Sports Direct has already used a 16% stake in Debenhams to introduce a number of shop-in-shops within the department store and has said that it wants to have 16 in this format by the middle of next year.

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