LONDON, June 21 Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer Sports Direct has signed a deal to take over a British gym and is in talks to buy more, marking 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, has taken ownership of a LA fitness centre in Sale, Greater Manchester, LA fitness said in a company statement.
A source close to the deal told Reuters Sports Direct is interested in buying around another 30 LA fitness clubs, with deals for four of those expected to be agreed with landlords in the next week. The clubs will be called Sports Direct Fitness.
LA fitness declined to comment. Sports Direct, which already sells gym equipment and whose sports brands have an obvious crossover with fitness clubs, was not available for comment.
As part of a company voluntary agreement (CVA) with landlords agreed in March, LA fitness put 33 of its 80 fitness clubs up for sale. LA fitness is owned by management and several of its lending banks.
Sports Direct's UK rival JD Sports Fashion made a trial move into the fitness market earlier this year, opening a gym in Hull, northern England. (Editing by Andrew Roche)