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Sports Direct buys 80% stake in USC and Cruise Clothing

Sports Direct has bought an 80% stake in two fashion businesses owned by Scottish billionaire Sir Tom Hunter.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Sports Direct buys 80% stake in USC and Cruise Clothing

The sporting goods retailer, which was founded by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, has paid £7 million to take control of the USC and Cruise Clothing brands.

Sir Tom will retain a 20% shareholding in both businesses and will remain as chairman of both companies. He will also provide strategic guidance to the newly-established premium and luxury lifestyle division of Sports Direct International.

USC has 38 stores in the UK and had sales of £70m in the year to January. Cruise has 10 UK stores and an annual turnover of about £20m. Sir Tom has been involved with USC since 2004 and purchased Cruise in December 2010.

Sports Direct will also provide a facility of up to £20 million to develop the two businesses. New USC stores are due to open in Swindon and Newbury in the autumn of this year.

Sir Tom Hunter said: "This deal will transform the prospects for both USC and Cruise and our employees at a time of extraordinary turbulence in the High Street.  I've known the Sports Direct team for many years and have huge respect for their talent and look forward to co-investing with them.  Sports Direct has a truly exceptional track record in building partnerships with its customers and its staff."

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said: "While USC and Cruise will remain independent of Sports Direct, we will support the businesses with our operational expertise."
 

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