Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group says Matches to enter administration

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Alice Price, apparel analyst at data analytics firm Globaldata added that selling luxury goods online was particularly tough, since shoppers prefer to see and try on expensive products.

“Supplier relations had also begun to sour under Frasers’ ownership, with the fashion giant reportedly seeking sizeable discounts, while some brands reported overdue payments, resorting to termination of contracts,” she said.

“It is not yet certain if Frasers Group will dissolve Matches completely or is using the administration to restructure the business and reduce its operational costs.”

In a statement Frasers Group said the business had “consistently missed its business plan targets” and was making “material losses”.

“The continued funding requirements would be far in excess of amounts that the Group considers to be viable,” it said.

However, Frasers said it remained committed to the luxury market.

Two years ago Mr Ashley, who founded Sports Direct and established its reputation with cut-price deals on sports goods, handed the reins to his son-in-law, Michael Murray.

Mr Murray has taken a different tack targeting “new, luxury, aspirational” customers, and bought 60 Flannels stores, which sell designer clothes.

The Group now includes Jack Wills, Sofa.com, Game, Evans Cycles, Gieves and Hawkes, and House of Fraser.

Mr Ashley remains the majority shareholder.

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