Mike Ashley is poised to invest up to £100m in shopping centres in a bet that rising footfall will boost their popularity. 

Mike Ashley-people-prospect

Mike Ashley is in pole position to buy the two shopping centres

The Frasers Group owner is in advanced talks to purchase The Mall in Luton, Bedfordshire, and the Overgate centre in Dundee, according to The Sunday Times.

The purchase would value the properties at £70m and £30m respectively, and make Ashley a landlord for many of his retail rivals. 

The deals would be the latest in a string of purchases by Frasers Group, which has been snapping up retailers that did not fare well upon exiting the pandemic, including Missguided and I Saw It First.

The business has also taken stakes in Hugo Boss, Asos and N Brown

Wells Fargo is selling The Mall in Luton, which already operates a Sports Direct store. According to The Sunday Times, Ashley plans to carve up the vacant Debenhams store into outlets for Frasers-owned chains such as Flannels and USC. 

Sports Direct and USC already operate in Dundee’s Overgate centre. A takeover of the centre would represent a big loss for Legal & General, which paid Landsec £125m for the city’s main shopping destination nine years ago. 

Sources in the report cautioned that, while Ashley was in pole position to buy the centres, he was still haggling over price and it was not certain the deals would be done. 

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