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Sports Direct is calling for all bar one of the Debenhams board to be removed and for its founder Mike Ashley to be appointed to run the business.

Earlier this week, the department store chain issued a profit warning as sales fell more than 5% in the six months to March.

Sports Direct, which owns a 30% stake in Debenhams, voted with investor Landmark Group to remove chairman and chief executive off the retailer's board. Chief executive Sergio Rucher remained in his role, but was removed from the board.

Now, the sports retailer is calling for a general meeting for Debenhams shareholders to remove all members of the board, bar Rachel Osborne who was appointed in September last year, and to appoint Mike Ashley.

In a statement, Sports Direct said Mr Ashley would carry out an executive role and focus solely on Debenhams "including building a strong board and management team", describing this as a "business critical period for Debenhams".

It added that such a move would see Mike Ashley step down as chief executive and director of Sports Direct with the company's deputy chief financial officer Chris Wootton taking step in as acting chief executive.

Following the announcement, Debenhams responded by saying: "The board has been engaging with Sports Direct and our other stakeholders and is disappointed that Sports Direct has taken this action.

"In the meantime, we remain focused on delivering the restructuring of our balance sheet, and our discussions are well advanced."