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First Sports Direct TV ads hit screens

Sports Direct has aired its first television adverts as it focuses its ambitions on becoming Europe’s most profitable sports retailer.

The campaign debuted last week during prime-time slots including the ad break in Coronation Street on ITV1. The sports retailer is testing several variations and will assess customer feedback before driving forward with a bigger push.

A spokesman for Sports Direct, which was founded by controversial entrepreneur Mike Ashley, said the retailer realised that to move forward it must promote the brand.

If successful, the TV spots may be launched in international markets.

The campaign highlights deals on the retailer’s brands and highlights 30%-off offers on Nike, Adidas and Umbro.

One analyst said the move into TV advertising may form part of an effort by Sports Direct to remind consumers of its lead position in the market as competitors such as
JJB Sports, which have struggled in the past few years, begin to strengthen. “As Sports Direct matures, it is more about exerting its authority,” she said.

Separately, Sports Direct and outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure were engaged in mudslinging over Sports Direct’s potential bid for its rival.

As Drapers went to press, Sports Direct was considering increasing its 62p per share indicative offer, which has been described by Blacks as “wholly inadequate”.

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