Sports Direct: Doncaster-based owner Michael Murray warns of price rises

The Doncaster owner of Sports Direct has warned that prices will rise – as costs are ‘going through the roof.’

By Darren Burke
Friday, 6th May 2022, 11:22 am

Michael Murray, who has taken over from Mike Ashley as boss of the sports store chain, has also insisted the High Street is not dead – with plans to open ten new flagship stores across the UK.

Doncaster-based Mr Murray, 32, who replaced his future father-in-law as chief executive of Frasers Group, has said that prices are likely to go up at the discount retailer.

In an interview with the BBC he said: "In terms of the pricing of product, we are very much at the mercy of our brand partners.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Doncaster Sports Direct boss Michael Murray has warned of price rises - but says the High Street is not dead.

"They decide the price they want to sell the goods for and we will increase the prices as and when the brands ask us or recommend us to do so."

Speaking ahead of Sports Direct opening its new Birmingham store on Friday, Mr Murray said he believed Britain's High Streets were not "dead", but said they would be "different".

"I believe if you give people a reason to come and shop, they will shop. They've just not had a reason for the past few years," he added.

Following in the footsteps of Mr Ashley, he described him as a "genius of his generation", but said it required a "different type of genius and a different type of mindset what takes us forward into the next generation".

"What I want to do is to build on the retail excellence which Mike's created over the last 40 years and build a business that's fit for purpose for the next 40 years," he said.

"It's really as simple as that."

Former Newcastle United owner Mr Ashley - who founded Sports Direct in 1982 - is still the majority shareholder of the firm's empire, which includes House of Frasers, Flannels and Jack Wills.

Said Mr Murray: "I've definitely proved myself and my worth to the group. I think we've achieved so much over the last few years. Mike would never put me up to a job which he didn't think I could excel in because I don't think it'd be very popular around the dinner table.”

“Mike is not pulling the strings," he added.

"We've worked in a partnership, a very collaborative one over the last two to three years. We have vocal debates. We agree, we disagree. But ultimately the decision lies with me on the outcome of where we take the company.

"I'm definitely my own man."

He said he would bring clarity to the business, saying the retailer had been "misunderstood with maybe more of a scattergun approach in the past".

A former nightclub promoter, Mr Murray is the son of one of the town’s most prominent businessmen, Mick Murray, who set up the all-conquering Doncaster-based Lazarus Properties with business partner Lloyd Nicholson in 1997.

Mr Murray, engaged to be married to Mr Ashley's daughter Anna met her on holiday in Majorca in 2011 and the couple now live together in a £10.7 million mansion in Belgravia.