// 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, Sofa.com 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.”