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Debenhams could trial Sports Direct sportswear this summer

Sports Direct is among a dozen brands currently in talks with Debenhams to trial being stocked by the department store over the next few months.

Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp confirmed today that he was discussing the possibility with Sports Direct, which quickly converted its stake earlier this year into a put option on a 6.6% stake of the department store, of stocking sportswear, but added that other Sports Direct-owned fascias and brands had not been part of discussions so far.

“Our sportswear business is small, but our customers buy sportswear and Sports Direct do sportswear well,” said Sharp. “Our talks with Sports Direct have been specifically about sportswear.”

He declined to name the other brands, which may not all necessarily be fashion businesses.

Speaking this morning when Debenhams reported its first half results, Sharp said the 12 could be a mixture of own-bought labels and concessions, including the extension of existing brands.

As an example, group trading director Suzanne Harlow said its Designers at Debenhams tie-up with menswear designer Patrick Grant, which started last September, had been “outstanding” so the department store will extend it to 80 stores, from 50, this coming autumn.

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