The claim by Sports Direct’s boss Mike Ashley that his stores will be “the Selfridges of sport” is nothing if not ambitious.
If the curious shopper had visited any of the chain’s older stores, that claim would simply not be true. Yet a visit to the Oxford Street flagship goes some way towards substantiating Ashley’s statement.
The first thing that the visitor will notice on arrival at this one is football. It’s hard to miss because two groups of headless football-kit-clad mannequins stand either side of a goalpost from which is suspended a banner that announces: ‘The Home of Football.’
The current kits of Chelsea and Manchester United football clubs are immediately visible, as are brands, from Adidas to Nike.
The real point about what has been done, however, is that space has been given to the offer and the stock is not crammed.
Football occupies two floors out of four in this store. Not quite as premium as Selfridges, perhaps, but certainly worth a visit.