Retail news round-up on November 17, 2015: Sports Direct buys stake in Goals Soccer Centres and Lidl becomes official supermarket of the England football team.

Sports Direct picks up 5% stake in Aim-listed Goals Soccer Centres

Mike Ashley-owned sports retailer Sports Direct has snapped up a 4.94% stake in pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres.

The stake acquisition was made through a contract for difference (CFD).

Analysts at Canaccord Genuity said: “Mike Ashley can be unpredictable and his intentions are unclear.

“Of course, it could be a precursor to a bid but it could also be a curtain-raiser to open discussions over sponsorships or concessions within the business, or it could be a bet.”

Lidl named as official supermarket of England football team

Lidl has been named as the official supermarket of the England, Scotland and Wales football teams.

The German grocer agreed a multimillion-pound, three-year deal with the Football Association to be the official supplier of water, fish, fruit and vegetables for the trio.

The deal also covers support for grassroots football including the provision of 1.5 million sessions of professional coaching for children in England, Wales and Scotland.

Ryan McDonnell, purchasing director for Lidl UK, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Lidl and one that we are both excited and extremely proud to be a part of. We look forward to building successful partnerships with the English, Scottish and Welsh FAs in developing the sport at both national and community levels.”

Apple’s first Southeast Asia retail store to be in Singapore

Apple is to build its first Southeast Asian bricks-and-mortar retail store in Singapore in a move to capitalise on the increasing smartphone sales in the region.

Confirming the rumoured launch, Apple’s senior vice-president for retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts, told Tech Crunch: “We have more than 900 incredible employees working in our Singapore contact centre and are thrilled to begin hiring the team that will open our first Apple Store in Singapore — an incredible international city and shopping destination.”