Sports Direct has sold more shares in rival JD Sports as it continues to eye a move for collapsed department store chain BHS.

In a stock market filing late yesterday, JD revealed that Mike Ashley’s company has sold around 12.5m shares, leaving Sports Direct with a 4.6% stake in its rival. It previously had a 5.7% stake and in March had a 6.9% stake. 

Sports Direct and JD Sports have witnessed contrasting fortunes of late. Last month, JD revealed a 57% jump in full-year pre-tax profits.

However, Sports Direct said in March that annual profits would come in at the bottom end of expectations, having previously issued a profits warning in January.

It has also suffered from a wave of negative press coverage over allegations around the way it treats workers at its Shirebrook warehouse.

At the weekend it emerged that Ashley was back in the hunt to acquire BHS after a last-ditch bid to save the chain before it collapsed had foundered.   

The controversial billionaire is also reportedly looking at fashion chain Austin Reed, which also called in the administrators last week.

Moss Bros, Joules, White Stuff and Jones the Bootmaker are among those also circling Austin Reed’s stores, Retail Week revealed.