Sports Direct is introducing a new store concept for its Flannels chain that aims to enhance its position as the group’s “premium multibrand retail destination”.
Flannels sells brands such as Gucci, Vivienne Westwood, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Joseph from eight stores in cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff. It also trades online.
The new shop fit will feature clean lines and atmospheric lighting to accentuate the product, in a contemporary colour palette of grey, white and blue. Each floor will have an individual look and feel tailored to the brand mix.
The first store to feature the new concept has not yet been revealed.
It comes as Sports Direct revealed its sales in its premium lifestyle division fell by 3% to £207.6m for the year to April 26 as a result of the closure of loss-making stores in the period. Gross margin for the year fell by 150 basis points to 38.8% because of online clearance of legacy stock.
At the year-end, the division had 103 stores, comprising 66 USC, 10 Cruise, 10 Van Mildert, eight Flannels and nine “other” stores, the names of which are not given. It closed 24 USC stores and opened one Van Mildert in the last financial year.
Operating costs fell by 17.3% to £88.2m as the business continued to rationalise its USC and Republic businesses, consolidated key head office functions for Flannels, Cruise and Van Mildert and integrated distribution.
The division made an underlying EBITDA loss of £7.7m, compared with a £20.4m loss in 2014, which it said was because of the restructuring of Republic and the rationalisation of other businesses.
Last week, Sports Direct’s shareholders voted in favour of re-electing owner and founder Mike Ashley and chairman Keith Hellawell to the company’s board, despite protests from trade unions.