Sports Direct, led by leisurewear tycoon Mike Ashley, has called for a Europe-wide investigation into the dominance of Nike and Adidas in the sportswear market.
The firm issued a statement in the light of reports that Nike has told independent retailers that it will stop supplying them within two years because their sales methods were “no longer aligned” with the US company’s own strategy.
Sports Direct referred to concerns that Adidas would follow suit, stifling access to the goods sold by companies that between them rack up £50bn of revenues per year.
“The sports industry has long been dominated by the ‘must-have’ brands such as Adidas,” the company said. “These ‘must have’ brands hold an extremely strong bargaining position vis-à-vis the retailers within their supply networks and use their market power to implement market wide practices aimed at controlling the supply and, ultimately, the pricing of their products.”
It said brands such as Nike and Adidas had sufficient market power to restrict the range of products offered by retailers or refuse supply altogether.
“Sports Direct believes that the industry as a whole would benefit from a wide market review by the appropriate authorities in both the UK and Europe,” the company said.