Retail analysts predict it is only a matter of years before Mike Ashley buys up the last remaining charity shops and turns every High Street into one vast Sports Direct.
Mr Ashley, the retail entrepreneur behind Sports Direct, who is currently attempting to pick up ailing department store Debenhams at blue cross sale prices, is well on his way to literally owning the High Street.
“Sports Direct is already the only real shop in the unbroken run of bookies, charity shops and vape emporia that now make up the average UK High Street,” says John Spencer-Fishwash of the Institute for Studying High Streets.
“With Debenhams in his bag for life alongside House of Fraser, Millets and JD Sports it’s only a matter of time before Ashley consolidates his assets.
“By which I mean closes all the other shops and opens one massive Sports Direct in the heart of every town and city in the country.”
It is anticipated that the sporting goods retailer will diversify to some extent, perhaps interspersing his ubiquitous cut-price trainer warehouses with the odd coffee shop.
“When people think of the Sports Direct brand, it’s not just the sporting goods that come to mind,” said Mr Spencer-Fishwater.
“A lot of people already associate Sports Direct with oversized mugs so I can see them opening coffee shops or a least including them in store.”