British retail group Sports Direct International was established in 1982 by retailing tycoon Mike Ashley. The group was rebranded to Frasers Group in 2019, following the acquisition of the House of Fraser department store business the previous year, but Sports Direct remains the name of the eponymous sports goods business.
Sports Direct sells sportswear and equipment, leisure clothing, footwear and accessories under a mix of third-party brands including Nike, Umbro and Adidas, as well as group-owned brands such as Dunlop, Slazenger, Karrimor and Lonsdale.
Its hugely diverse range of around 180,000 SKUs means there is little in the way of sportswear equipment Sports Direct does not stock, while its accessories offering is perpetually growing with everything from branded lunch boxes, dog leads, felt-tip pens and even travel adaptor plug sockets.
The business maintains a seemingly relentless focus on range extension in order to retain its current customer base and attract more customers in the face of growing pressure from players such as H&M, Asos and Primark – many of which have developed own-brand fashionable sportswear ranges at affordable prices – and the entrants of dynamic specialists into the sector such as Canadian sportswear brand Lululemon and the British brand Gymshark.
Operating close to 800 stores in its home territory and over 500 stores worldwide, it is the UK’s largest sports goods retailer. Internationally, Frasers Group trades under a variety of fascias in Europe, but is increasingly using the Sports Direct brand.