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Republic and USC to merge and brands decide which name stays, says Sports Direct boss Dave Forsey

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Sports Direct is to merge its Republic and USC fashion chains and is relying on the brands they sell to determine the name it retains for the business, chief executive Dave Forsey confirmed.

“There will be one model for the two businesses,” he said. “It will be more branded. The brands will play a big part in deciding which fascia [we retain].”

Forsey said he would reveal more details about how the young fashion businesses would “fit together” later this year.

Sportswear giant Sports Direct snapped up 114 Republic stores out of administration in February this year.

It has since closed almost 30 stores after landlords including Land Securities and Intu rejected Sports Direct’s reduced rent proposals for the fascia. In the nine weeks since its acquisition, Republic made a loss of £4.5m EBITDA.

Republic’s rival, 40-store USC was bought by Sports Direct in July 2011 and marked the start of the sportswear giant’s march into fashion retail.

USC has been integrated into the Sports Direct business and the premium lifestyle division, which also includes Cruise, Van Mildert and Flannels, broke into profit over the year, according to Forsey.

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