Sports Direct

Sports Direct has purchased stakes in two US sports brands to "build relationships with key suppliers and brands".

The budget sports retailer has purchased an 11.5% stake in Iconix, the group that owns brands like Umbro and Lee Cooper, and a 2.3% stake in Dick's Sporting Goods which has around 500 stores in the US.

Some retail analysts have suggested the move could be part of a wider plan to expand into the US market, but one said it was "speculative" at this stage.

Sports Direct said: "The main rationale for these stakes is to allow Sports Direct to hopefully build a relationship and develop commercial partnerships with the relevant parties."

This is not the first time Sports Direct has purchased shares in another retailer - in fairly recent history, Mike Ashley's firm has bought stakes in Debenhams and House of Fraser. Analyst Bryan Roberts said Sports Direct buys shares in companies that it wants to "build influence or forge partnerships" with.