Q&A: Does Sports Direct Franchise in the UK?

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sports direct

Most of us Brits turn to Sports Direct for new trainers, sports apparel and equipment, but does the brand offer franchising opportunities in the UK? If youre passionate about the sporting goods retailing sector, read on to find out if you can own a Sports Direct franchise.

Sports Direct is the UKs largest sporting goods store, selling a wide variety of sports clothing brands and footwear as well as accessories and equipment. It has more than 700 stores across the globe, the majority of which are company owned and operated, as well as a number of concession areas in department store Debenhams. Its operates in 19 European countries and FY16 a group revenue of £2.9 billion. But can you buy a Sports Direct franchise in the UK?

History of Sports Direct

The business was founded by Mike Ashley in Maidenhead in 1982. Then, in 1996, it was rebranded as Sports Soccer and acquired Donnay. Four years later it kickstarted its international expansion and launched stores in Belgium.

In 2003 its retail portfolio increased to 150 stores and a year later it acquired Dunlop, Slazenger, Carlton and Karrimor. It established UK market leadership with sales exceeding £1 billion in 2009. In 2011, its expansion continued with stores opening in Portugal. Skip to today and its the operator of over 700 stores.

Health conscious One in seven of us Brits are a member of a gym and around 60% of us participate in some kind of sport regularly

Does Sports Direct franchise?

Unfortunately, no it does not. It operates some stores as franchises but this opportunity is only offered in South Africa and across the Middle East, meaning fans of the affordable sportwear company wont be able to open their own branch in the UK.

It also doesnt seem as though the company has any interest in expanding its UK presence through franchising as it appears to favour a more direct management process on our shores.

If you love sports and dream of being your own boss, there are lots of sport-related franchises offering fantastic opportunities. Weve highlighted some of our top picks below.

How to get involved with Sports Direct

Got your heart set on a career with Sports Direct? You can view its careers page here.

The sporting goods market in the UK

Sports clothing and footwear have grown into seriously lucrative industries. The UK sportwear market is set to grow by 20.9 percent between 2018 and 2023 to £6.7 billion. The Athletic Footwear sector is also a lucrative one, as its worth around £2.2billion alone and is expected to grow at least 6% every year. Its predicted that sportswear will outperform all other retail sectors in the next five years.

With one in seven of us Brits a member of a gym and around 60% of us participating in some kind of sport regularly, its easy to see why we spend so much money on getting the right gear. And as big-brand sports clothing and footwear can be pricey, more affordable retailers, like Sports Direct, are the first stop for many of us when we want new gym clothes or running shoes.

Similar franchise opportunities

1. Fast Feet FA

The Fast Feet FA business began life in 2013 as a privately owned business offering classes to children aged 3-16 years old. The company has a substantial presence in educational establishments across the north of England and provides classes to both groups and individuals.

  • How to become a Fast Feet FA franchisee: In 2018, the company decided to utilise the franchise model to facilitate further expansion. Its now looking for new franchisees to export its highly successful business model to other parts of the country. Click here to find out more.
  • How much you need to invest upfront: To become a Fast Feet FA franchisee, youll need to invest around £11,500. Of this amount, approximately £9,995 is earmarked for the franchise fee.
  • What you get for your investment: In return for your investment, franchisees will be enrolled in a comprehensive 10-day training programme and given ongoing support throughout the franchise agreement.

2. Premier Sport

With over 150 franchisees delivering more than 25,000 activity sessions to thousands of schools across the UK, Premier Sport is currently the largest children's sport and physical activity franchising company in the country.

  • Becoming a Premier franchisee: If you have excellent communication skills, a passion for sports and getting children involved, great leadership skills and sufficient capital, this could be one of the best franchise opportunities for you. Click here to get started.
  • How much you need to invest: With Premier Sport, you can choose from four packages, which range from £15,000 to £30,000.
  • What you get for your investment: Whichever package you choose to buy, youll get access to a mentor, core-training seminars and regular updates on the brand.

3. Pro Image Sports

Pro Image Sports is an American sports franchise founded in 1985. The franchisor licenses and trains franchisees to operate stores that retail professional sportswear and sports-oriented products under the trademark Pro Image Sports.The franchise became one of the fasted growing franchises in the US. There are over 130 Pro Image Sports franchises today.

  • Becoming a Pro Image Sports franchisee: Operating as a leading sports franchise for over 30 years, it has a dedicated customer base who are on the hunt for authentic, on-trend, licensed sports apparel and products. Local franchisees set themselves apart from the competition by matching their product selection to the demand of the market. Click here to find out more.
  • How much you need to invest: In order to invest, an initial investment of approximately £119,000 and an initial franchise fee of £23,000 is required.
  • What you get for your investment: This franchise is a safe option for entrepreneurs looking to make a low-risk investment, with a relatively low initial investment. Getting involved with Pro Image Sports is a great idea because of its 30-year track record and franchise team support plan, which includes locating the right store and help with leasing, marketing and sales. At the moment, Pro Image Sports is only franchising in the US, but watch this space for UK opportunities.

4. Smiths Sports Shoes

Founded in 1949, this franchise is one of the most successful sports shoe retailers in New Zealand. It caters for the whole family, as it offers shoes suited to the majority of sports and also more casual shoes, all at affordable prices. There are now 15 stores in New Zealand and, over the past 25 years, the Smiths group has really taken off and developed into the successful business it is today.

  • Becoming a Smiths Sports Shoes franchisee: The Smiths franchise model has proven the test of time, and the company is searching for hard-working entrepreneurs with great communication skills to get on board. In order to start a franchise, potential franchisees must contact the franchisor directly to find out about investment costs. At the moment, however, Smiths is only looking for franchisees in New Zealand.

5. Sport Works

If youd like to work with local primary schools to provide fun, engaging sports programmes that help schools achieve and maintain the coveted Outstanding Ofsted rating in PE, you could be the right fit for Sport Works. The franchise is one of the leading primary sports academies in the country. It offers balance, coordination and motor skills building activities and sports training education to primary schools in need of a sporting boost.

  • Becoming a Sports Works franchisee: Since it began franchising in 2013, it has recruited a team of 11 dedicated franchisees across the UK and is now seeking new faces to join its innovative and successful company. Click here to request more information.
  • How much you need to invest: Youll need to make a minimum investment of £12,950.
  • What you get for your investment: Each franchisee will attend an intensive two-day training course that will teach them everything they need to know to succeed. The head office team will handle the social media marketing, website content and contract document so that franchisees can focus on building new contacts.

Start a sports goods retailer

The sports good retail sector is clearly very lucrative and presents plenty of scope for successful business ventures. Check out another one of our articles about the CEOs whipping the gym, sport and fitness sector into tip-top shape. Click here to browse our full list of sports franchise opportunites.

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