Sports Direct has proposed the divestment of the shops after concerns were raised by the OFT that the sports retailer’s acquisition of the 31 stores raised competition issues in areas where Sports Direct was already trading.

OFT senior director of mergers Amelia Fletcher said: “Although our investigation indicated that the purchase of these stores had not reduced competition at a national level, we identified concerns in five local areas that needed to be addressed.”

The OFT will now consider whether selling the stores will be enough to satisfy regulations governing competition. If the OFT deems that Sports Direct’s offer does not go far enough the matter will need to be referred to the Competition Commission.