Sports Direct group owner goes upmarket with £97m stake in Hugo Boss

A Hugo Boss shop window in Tegel Airport. It is a German luxury fashion house founded in 1924 by Hugo Boss. Photo: Getty

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has bought a stake in fashion label Hugo Boss worth almost £100m ($125.5m).

The group, which also owns Sports Direct, is planning to take its retail empire upmarket and has described the move as a "strategic investment".

Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United, has previously acknowledged that he wants to reposition his company towards "premium third-party brands". 

The group now owns a 5.1% share in the German clothing company, which has more than 1,000 shops worldwide including one in Gateshead Metrocentre.

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The acquisition adds another luxury brand to the Frasers Group portfolio which also has stakes in Mulberry, French Connection, Jack Wills, Game Digital, Agent Provocateur and Sofa.com.

Less successful has been the company’s stake in Debenhams which was was almost wiped out last year when the department store chain went into administration.

Last week, Debenhams said it is to shut five stores after failing to reach agreement with its landlords over rent, resulting in 1,000 job losses.

“This investment reflects Frasers Group’s growing relationship with Hugo Boss and belief in Hugo Boss’ long-term future. Frasers Group intends to be a supportive stakeholder and create value in the interests of both Frasers Group’s and Hugo Boss’ shareholders,” said Frasers of the recent acquisition.

Hugo Boss has not commented on the deal.