Sports Direct put forward plans to bring a sportswear offer to Debenhams stores last week in what is understood to be the first of a series of meetings between the two retailers.

Sports Direct tabled a number of proposals that are thought to include a celebrity-backed sportswear range, which could be the sporting equivalent of the department store group’s Designers at Debenhams collection. 

A source close to the situation said “the ball is now in Debenhams’ court”. It is understood that Debenhams views sportswear as an area of growth.

The department store group, which issued a profit warning after discounting eroded its margins over Christmas, stocks few sportswear products at present. 

However, it is thought a decision on the proposals is not imminent and that more meetings are set to take place over the coming weeks and months. 

The meeting last Thursday comes after the sportswear retailer took an initial 4.6% stake in the department store group earlier this month.

Sports Direct sold the stake a few days after the acquisition, replacing it with an agreement that allows it to take a 6.6% stake in Debenhams.

Sports Direct and Debenhams declined to comment.