Sports Direct has snapped up triathlon specialist brand Tri UK and plans to roll out six new stores next year, including a Nottingham flagship.

The sportswear giant has acquired 100% ownership of Tri UK’s parent company Tri Yeovil, specialist title reported, and plans to open a 25,000 sq ft flagship in Nottingham early next year as well as shops in Oxford, Edinburgh, Kent and Dublin.

The brand currently operates one 17,000 sq ft bricks-and-mortar store in Yeovil, so this backing from the Mike Ashley-run retailer will significantly boost its store footprint and create 150 new jobs.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has owned cycling brand MuddyFox since 2011, but this acquisition marks the retailer’s first push into standalone cycling retail.

The acquisition follows Ashley’s plan to craft Sports Direct into “the Selfridges of sport” following a nosedive in full-year profits.

The retailer plans to open a selection of “new generation” flagships to lure in more affluent shoppers and placate suppliers after increased competition from rival JD Sports.