Sports Direct is asking for further concessions from landlords of its Republic stores, putting the future of some of its shops in doubt, Retail Week has learned.
Sports Direct has sent a letter to the landlords of the Republic stores it bought out of administration a year ago, most of which have been rebranded to USC, to thrash out a deal to reduce rents.
Sports Direct, which is controlled by Mike Ashley, is seeking turnover based rents from landlords of the remaining 50 plus stores. Sports Direct initially acquired 114 Republic shops but has since closed about half of them.
This is the second time Sports Direct has sought rent reductions from Republic landlords. The retailer proposed to move to 15% of store turnover or 50% of the existing rent, business rates and service charge a month after it bought the Republic shops to help safeguard its future.
Not all landlords agreed to the proposal, with major property owners such Intu and Land Securities, rejecting the proposal.
Poor performing former Republic stores have led to Sports Direct’s premium lifestyle division, which includes USC and Flannels, making a £11.9m loss its first half to December 12 which is expected to hit around £15m in the full year.
The situation is being exacerbated for Sports Direct by big brands such as Adidas Originals and Lacoste, which is owned by Pentland Brands - the largest shareholder in Sports Direct’s archrival JD Sports, restricting supply to USC and Republic.