// Mike Ashley eyes 30 Debenhams stores
// Ashley is expected to make a public statement this week
Frasers Group owner Mike Ashley is reportedly looking to seize as many as 30 stores from rival retailer Debenhams.
The billionaire tycoon has discussed with senior staff and is likely to reveal a public statement as soon as this week, Mail Online reported.
Ashley is the majority owner of Frasers Group, which owns sportswear giant Sports Direct. department store chain House of Fraser, as well as Jack Wills, Sofa.com and Evans Cycles.
Ashley has previously expressed an interest in taking control of Debenhams and attempted – but failed – to win a seat on the senior board role at the department store chain at least twice.
However, it has been speculated that the Covid-19 pandemic may have lessened Ashley’s interest in seizing some or all of Debenhams’ stores.
It remains unclear as to whether Ashley’s interest includes the 35 Debenhams stores that have remained closed since the lockdown in March.
Debenhams reopened 124 stores since June 15, when non-essential services began to reopen.
Separately, investors in Frasers Group are hoping the company will have been boosted by strong online and reopening sales when it reveals the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for the first time.
Frasers Group will announce its full-year figures on Thursday.