Michael ‘Mike’ Ashley (55yrs) started his discount sports shop from humble beginnings in 1989 with a £10,000 loan to a 3 billion pound retail empire.
Despite the allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and subjecting his employees to Victorian workhouse conditions, he has excelled in retail and is buying up the high street faster than a tramp on a kipper.
Buying House of Fraser, Evans Cycles, Agent Provocateur, Game, Jack Wills, Millets, Lillywhites and even online store Sofa.com
By his own admission, he is a bricks rather than clicks businessman but obviously he is willing to dabble online if the opportunity arises.
A big part of Mike Ashley’s success comes from exploiting diminishing but well known brands through acquisitions and moving manufacturing to the Far East, then knocking out the products cheap during the endless closing down sales.
Donnay, Dunlop Slazenger, Karrimor, Kangol, Lonsdale, Everlast and onetime football manufacturing giant Umbro have all been swallowed up by Mr Ashley in recent years.
Reducing the cost of manufacturing is probably business 101 and has made him a vast fortune but it has come at the price of quality and slapping a logo on really cheap T-shirt is now order of the day.
So as the retail machine that is Mike Ashley continues to buy up struggling retail names like he did brands, it makes you wonder what the future will hold for them but I suspect we will see Jack Will’s rammed with stock covered in florescent pink sale labels.