Debenhams boss Michael Sharp and Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey are set to meet today to explore how the two retailers can work together.

The meeting comes after Sports Direct, controlled by billionaire Mike Ashley, took a 4.6% stake in Debenhams last week, which it sold a few days later and replaced with a complex option agreement that allows it to take a 6.6% stake in the department store group.

Sports Direct has said it wants to explore options to work with Debenhams at an “operational level”, which sources close to the situation believe could lead to the sports retailer’s brands being sold in the department stores.

It is understood that Sports Direct is also considering adding celebrity-backed sportswear ranges into Debenhams.

Last week Debenhams, which issued a profit warning after heavy discounting over Christmas hit margins, said it is “open-minded” in exploring the “operational opportunities” highlighted by Sports Direct.