Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has closed 12 Republic stores just two months after it rescued them from administration.

More stores are likely to shut, it is understood.

The sports retailer bought 114 stores from Republic at the end of February just after the chain had plunged into administration and appointed administrator Ernst & Young.

But Sports Direct has pulled the shutters down on 12 underperforming stores, according to the Evening Standard. It is talking to landlords on the remainder to negotiate turnover-based rents.

Sources believe more Republic shops are likely to be closed.

The move follows Sports Direct’s decision to shutter 14 out of the 20 JJB Sports stores it bought from administrators of the collapsed retailer in October.