UK's Sports Direct eyes move into fitness market

LONDON Wed May 14, 2014 7:39am EDT

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LONDON May 14 (Reuters) - Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer Sports Direct is in talks to buy 30 British gyms, in a move that would mark its entrance into the health and fitness industry.

Sports Direct, which has over 600 sports stores in Europe, including 400 in the UK and also owns fashion chains and a stable of brands including Dunlop, Slazenger and Everlast, is one of a number of firms that have held talks to buy 30 clubs from LA fitness, the gym chain told Reuters on Wednesday.

As part of a company voluntary agreement (CVA) with landlords agreed in March, LA fitness is selling 33 of its 80 fitness clubs. LA fitness is owned by management and several of its lending banks.

Sports Direct, which already sells gym equipment and whose sports brands have an obvious crossover with fitness clubs, declined to comment.

The retailer's UK rival JD Sports Fashion made a trial move into the fitness market earlier this year, opening a gym in Hull, northern England. (Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by James Davey)

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