October 30, 2018 / 4:20 PM / 10 months ago

Sports Direct to close stores in Evans Cycles rescue

FILE PHOTO: A man removes a bike from in front of Evans Cycles store in Birmingham, Britain September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Sports Direct (SPD.L), the sportswear group controlled by retail tycoon Mike Ashley, has added to an already lengthy list of UK investments by snapping up specialist cycling retailer Evans Cycles.

Sports Direct purchased Evans Cycles for an undisclosed sum immediately after parent FW Evans Cycles (UK) Limited went into administration. Ashley warned he would only keep half of the chain’s 62 stores open.

The 97-year-old business employs around 1,300 staff.

Administrators PwC said Evans had been the victim of a “liquidity crunch” which reflected losses, capital expenditure requirements and tightening credit.

In August Sports Direct bought department store group House of Fraser for 90 million pounds ($114.6 million), while earlier this month it spent 95 million pounds buying the freehold of the Frasers store in Glasgow.

It also owns a raft of stakes in other UK retailers, including nearly 30 percent of Debenhams DEB.L.

Shares in Sports Direct, down 20 percent over the last year, closed up 1.3 percent.

($1 = 0.7855 pounds)

Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle

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