Sports Direct has confirmed that it is set to acquire some assets of a US sports and outdoor retailer, giving it a springboard to enter the American market.
It is on course to purchase 50 of 90 stores owned by Eastern Outfitters, under the Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports fascias, out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy next month.
The retailer has said it will use the footprint of the fascias to “provide Sports Direct with a footprint in US bricks-and-mortar retail and a platform from which to grow US online sales”.
Sports Direct has long been keen to enter the American market. Last year, boss Mike Ashley was at the helm of a failed bid to buy the intellectual property of Sports Authority.
Eastern Outfitters filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. Before its collapse, Sports Direct bought its debt and injected money to stop the business going into liquidation.
The UK retailer provided a loan of $85m (£67.9m) so that the US company could continue to trade.
Ashley had intended to act as Eastern Outfitters’ ‘stalking horse’ – a bidder given the first chance to make an offer to set the minimum price for others – but agreed a purchase instead after other creditors objected.
They described the process as “inherently unfair”.