Is the billionaire king of retail Mike Ashley opening a plush new store in Ipswich?

Flannels in Swindon. Picture: Google Maps

Flannels in Swindon. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

It seems as though Mike Ashley is hedging his bets on Ipswich as a shopping destination, because one of his retail companies appears to be poised to open a new store in the town.

Sports Direct in Ipswich - one of Mike Ashley's other brands

Sports Direct in Ipswich - one of Mike Ashley's other brands - Credit: Archant

Although the retail sector has taken a battering lately, Mike Ashley, who is the founder of Sports Direct and owns Newcastle United Football Club, believes in the ability of the market to recover, and has been busy snapping up stakes in a number of retail chains - from House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, to and Debenhams.

It’s his upmarket clothing brand Flannels that appears to be branching out into Ipswich.

Mr Ashley acquired a majority stake in the Manchester-based luxury and designer fashion chain Flannels in 2012, and upped his stake to more than 75% in 2017.

While other retailers have been busy closing down their stores of late, Flannels is bucking the trend by opening new stores. It has gone from 13 stores in 2017, to more than 35 stores nationwide now.

An ad appeared two weeks ago on LinkedIn for store manager position, for a new Flannels store opening in Ipswich.

However, Flannels has not responded for requests from the East Anglian Daily Times for details on where this store will be, and when exactly we can expect it to open.

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The Flannels ad states: “With a portfolio of over 200 brands, our stores carry a refined selection of the season’s most inspiring and sought-after collections..our brand portfolio includes the likes of Gucci, Saint Laurent, Valentino, Stone Island and Moncler, and our rapid growth has seen us open stores in many of the UK’s major cities from Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds to Birmingham and Cardiff.

“Flannels will open the doors of its new UK flagship on Oxford Street, London in 2019; situated below the brand’s state of the art 300-person office.”

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