Sports Direct “definitely not a business in crisis,” exec says

Sports Direct Michael Murray executive not in crisis recent Jack Wills
Sports Direct exec Michael Murray says the business is not in crisis. (Image: PA)
// Sports Direct exec says the business is not in crisis following concerns over recent initiatives
// Michael Murray is Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley’s son-in-law
// Murray spoke to Sky News just 24 hours after Sports Direct acquired Jack Wills for £12.8m

Sports Direct executive Michael Murray has said the company is “definitely not a business in crisis” despite concerns over its recent initiatives.

Murray, who is Sports Direct’s head of elevation and chief executive Mike Ashley’s son-in-law, made the comments on Sky News just 24 hours after Sports Direct acquired struggling retailer Jack Wills for £12.8 million.

Ashley’s retail empire also bought three other retailers in the past year: Evans Cycles, and House of Fraser.

Ashley recently expressed regret over purchasing House of Fraser.

He wrote that the department store’s problems were “terminal” in Sports Direct’s full-year report published last month, which was delayed after a colossal £605 million tax bill from the Belgian authorities.

However, Murray said Sports Direct would continue to focus on potential acquisitions whenever there are opportunities.

“I can understand why people would think it, but it’s definitely not a business in crisis,” Murray said.

“Some [you] win, some [you] lose, but ultimately we’re having a go and we believe in ourselves.

“We’re determined, we work very hard, we’re not thinking about the short term, we’re thinking about the medium-to-long term, the Next generation of Sports Direct consumers and shareholders.

“Short term we may be wrong, but long term we back our decisions.”

Murray added that Sports Direct would try and keep as many Jack Wills stores as possible,  after winning the race against Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day.

“Some will have to close if we can’t get the right rental deals, but we believe we will be making fair offers to landlords and work collaboratively with them,” he told Sky News.

“It is impossible to say if we keep 80 per cent or 90 per cent of the stores.

“I’d like to keep all of the stores but it is not realistic to think that all the landlords will reach deals.

“I can’t guarantee a number of jobs, but I can say I believe the majority of stores will be kept.”

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette’s free daily email newsletter


  1. This sounds like someone who is utterly disconnected from reality and seems to have no idea at all what he’s doing.

    How can you be wrong in the short term, but right in the long term? If you’re wrong in the short term, you usually don’t get to the long term.

    “Some you win some you lose”?? Is that a robust business strategy suggesting careful stewardship, or just the ramblings of a gambler hoping his luck will turn on the next roll of the dice?

    Buying failing businesses is only a viable strategy if you have a track record in turning them round. So far we haven’t seen that from Sports Direct, all we’ve seen is a fire sale mentality of buying up businesses because they’re going cheap in the sales, rather than because they have any inherent value or any connection to what SD does (with the possible exception of Evans).

    Ashley shows all the hallmarks of an inveterate gambler with money burning a hole in his pocket. Like Philip Green, he struck lucky with one particular format and is desperately hoping to hit the jackpot again.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here