Sports Direct Table Tennis Bats
“We are concerned with Sports Direct’s relationship with Nike. Is it getting all of the availability? A simple walk around the store will give the impression that it is an issue, there is very little in there.”
Aviva is Sports Direct’s sixth largest investor with a 2.17pc stake. Mike Ashley, the controversial founder and deputy chairman, owns a 55pc share.
Analysts have said that Sports Direct’s focus on bargain-hunting shoppers has put pressure on its relationship with key suppliers such as Nike and Adidas. Two years ago Adidas refused to supply Sports Direct with World Cup replica kit.
Sports Direct's chief executive, Dave Forsey said that the retailer is split 50-50 between its own brand and third party premium brands. At its recent interim results the company said that it was seeking to develop its relationship with Under Armour, the brand that sponsors British tennis ace Andy Murray, substantially in the short to medium term.
The flurry of updates from retailers on Christmas trading confirmed a noticeable fall in high street footfall last month. However, companies with a strong online presence were crowned the winners of the festive season.
“Customers expect there to be a better website, they have got to improve it”, said Mr Green. Sports Direct’s website has been designed by IT director and former computer science graduate John Ashley, Mr Ashley’s brother.
Family-ties run deep at Sports Direct with Mr Ashley recently making his daughter’s 26-year-old boyfriend in charge of the group’s UK and international property team. Michael Murray was given the key role and a £10.7m loan for a Belgravia property by Mr Ashley, despite having no commercial property experience.