Sports Direct snaps up Irish department store Heatons

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Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has expanded his retail empire further into Ireland as he swooped on one of the Emerald Isle’s largest department store retailers.

Sports Direct has struck a €47.5 million (£35 million) deal to snap up the 50% it does not already own in Heatons, which sells everything from women’s jackets to saucepans.

Sports Direct said it has entered into a sale and purchase agreement with a minority shareholder of Warrnambool, the holding company of Heatons.

The Dublin-headquartered chain includes 44 shops in the Republic of Ireland and 10 in Northern Ireland.

A number of them have a dedicated SportsWorld section, and some in Northern Ireland already have Sports Direct-branded departments.

The retailer — famed for its pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap tactics — also has an option to buy those shares in Warrnambool which it does not already own, meaning it could become the full owner of the holding company. Warrnambool generated sales of €219.3 million in the year to April 30. 

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said it would step up investment in Heatons and “strengthen” the brand.

Freddie George, retail analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald said: “This acquisition, in our view, should be viewed as positive.”

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October 7, 2015 |
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