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By
Reuters
Published
Jul 6, 2011
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Sports Direct dips toe in premium market

By
Reuters
Published
Jul 6, 2011

LONDON, July 6 - Sports Direct, Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer, said it has purchased majority stakes in two companies controlled by Tom Hunter, dipping its toe in the premium and luxury sector of the market.

The firm, controlled by Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said on Wednesday it has acquired 80 percent shareholdings in Hunter's West Coast Capital (USC) Ltd, a branded fashion business, and in Cruise Clothing Ltd, a luxury retailer, for 7 million pounds ($11.2 million).

USC has 38 stores in the UK, while Cruise has 10.

Sports Direct said Hunter, a Scottish millionaire and philanthropist, will retain a 20 percent stake in both businesses, remain as chairman of both and provide advice to the newly established premium and lifestyle division of Sports Direct.

Shares in Sports Direct, which have more than doubled over the last year, were up 1 percent at 241.6 pence at 0701 GMT, valuing the business at about 1.41 billion pounds.

The firm will publish 2010-11 results on July 14.

($1 = 0.622 British Pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Mark Potter)

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