The USC name is to disappear in England as parent company Sports Direct moves to rebrand it in line with Republic, its most recent acquisition.
Drapers understands the 24 English USC stores are to be renamed Republic.com, taking the same colour scheme as Republic’s existing bricks-and-mortar stores. The timescale for this has not been revealed. USC’s 11 Scottish stores will be unaffected.
One source commented: “With SportsDirect.com already on the high street, [owner] Mike Ashley is building up a dotcom empire.”
It is not known what will happen to the remaining three stores in Northern Ireland and Wales or USC’s website.
USC’s buying team is also understood to have taken on responsibilities from Republic’s team, which was made redundant when Republic collapsed into administration in mid-February.
Many brands have now had their forward orders doubled to meet the demands of the larger store count.
It is thought Republic’s womenswear brand Miso will be added to USC’s brand portfolio, bolstering its existing range, which has previously been overshadowed by its menswear offer.
The move comes a fortnight after Sports Direct acquired a majority stake in Republic for an undisclosed sum.
The sportswear business bought all 116 Republic stores, stock and own brands, including SoulCal, Fabric and Crafted.
One former Republic employee told Drapers that when looking to buy the business, Sports Direct had investigated acquiring Republic’s online business, which is believed to take around £45m in sales annually, as a standalone business.
Sports Direct did not respond to requests for comment.