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Sports Direct's Mike Ashley to launch clothing and gym superstores

Sports Direct is planning to merge its clothing and gym formats in a string of superstores funded by a new property investment firm set up by founder Mike Ashley.

The company is seeking sites for the superstores, which will feature two floors of retail space as well as a gym, according to Property Week. Ashley’s investment firm has around £250m to spend on the rollout.

Sports Direct has hired Michael Murray, formerly of Central London Properties, as property director. He will be tasked with heading up the expansion, which will start in the Southeast. 

It comes after Sports Direct trialled its first purpose-built 20,000 sq ft fitness club in Aintree on Merseyside at the start of this year.

A spokesman told Property Week: “Following the success of the Aintree store, the group has a war chest of £250m and is seeking sites in the Southeast to develop superstores and gyms together.

“Chief executive David Forsey is leading the expansion and the group is looking for standalone brownfield sites for the superstores.”

Sports Direct operates 30 gyms and more than 470 stores across the UK. Last November, it said it would look to open around 200 more gyms.

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