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JD invests in menswear indie Mainline

JD Sports Fashion has taken a stake in Yorkshire indie Mainline Menswear and is pledging to help support the business as it grows.

Drapers has learned that the group made an undisclosed investment in the Scarborough retailer, which was founded by former footballer Stuart Hicks in 2002.

The investment was made through a new company, Mainline Menswear Holdings, which was set up in mid-March.

JD chairman Peter Cowgill said: “It’s a great business. We’re just giving it more financial stability and strength in the market. It was a sensible partnership to make.”

Cowgill added the funds would “enable it to continue to grow” with the money allowing the store to “buy more stock and continue to expand”.

However, Cowgill would not elaborate on what this expansion could entail, saying it would be up to the directors at Mainline Menswear, which will continue to operate as a separate entity.

Mainline Menswear stocks a range of premium and young fashion brands including Lyle & Scott, Hugo Boss, Stone Island and Superdry.

In its most recent unaudited accounts filed at Companies House, the business had net assets of £2.98m in the year to November 30, 2013. It has just one store, on Huntriss Row, with sources indicating its website contributed the vast majority of its turnover.

JD has been prolific in its investment and acquisitions of smaller businesses over the past few years. Last November it bought a majority stake in multi-brand sports etailer ActivInstinct and last June acquired young fashion mini-chain Ark out of administration.

Mainline Menswear did not respond to requests for comment.

Readers' comments (5)

  • A good investment for JD - this sector is still left open for a dominent player to emerge its a case of scale in order to take market share, only issue is Mainline does not have a great a fantastic relationship with some of the more premium suppliers

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  • Sports Direct and JD are fighting for the menswear space at the moment but still are not getting a grip of the sector - time will tell

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  • Mainlne loses it's independence. It is no longer an Indie.

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  • Good move for JD as they will eventually gain access to Mainline's huge customers database to target their other online fascias. They can also supply Mainline with JD own label product and insist on better deals with some of the brands. The online market is getting much harder for true independents - a quick google search for anything proves this with results on the 1st page consistently showing the brands own website, Amazon, Ebay, Asos & any store under the Sports Direct / JD / Pentland umbrella

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  • In simple terms Mainline have 'sold out' and J.D will just drag it down to the lowest common denominator so will end up being a pile of rubble. There is nothing to get excited about here, unless you get off on selling mediocrity. And I'm being kind here.

    They are now exactly the type of business any credible indie would not want to be and as a previous poster said, they are no longer an Indie.

    Do you remember when the major record labels of the late 1970's wanted a piece of the burgeoning Indie pie? They set up labels that appeared independent, but were not. Every single one of them disappeared and was absorbed by the major.

    Ditto Mainline. Goodbye.

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