Sports Direct CEO, Mike Ashley, is looking for European partners to solidify its position within the region, while also warning European sports stores: "Work with us or we will smash you."
Win-win or "we will smash you"
The multimillionaire has made the remarkable remark during an analyst meeting. He divulged plans to "build a strong European presence" by "identifying and working with strong local partners". Those that do collaborate with Sports Direct, will have a win-win situation in their hands, according to Ashley.
The CEO intends to start small in specifically chosen markets to monitor retailer interest. "It’s about putting shops down in a few places and seeing who wants to play. If you don’t want to play, we’ll come to your country and smash you to bits."
Already present in 19 countries
Ashley has previously applied the same tactic: He convinced Austrian Sports Eybl and Sports Experts AG to rename their 52 stores to Sports Direct. The group is currently present in 19 European countries and also dominates the market in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with 80 stores in the region.
The British retailer has 44 stores in Belgium, but it lags behind in the really large Western European markets (France, Germany and Spain) with respectively 6, 3 and 1 store. It does not even have one single store in the Netherlands, but the question is how long the group will leave these areas untouched.