- Sportswear retailer Sports Direct said its chief executive and founder Mike Ashely had 'vowed to save the struggling British High Street' and would appear before UK government lawmakers to request policy support.

Sports Direct has recently placed risky bets on struggling retailers, including department store chains House of Fraser and Debenhams, hit by the rise of online shopping and weaker consumer confidence.

'Since we acquired House of Fraser, we've been working around the clock to save as many stores and jobs as possible,' Ashley said in a statement.

'I believe politicians and landlords should be doing more to save our struggling high streets, so I intend to make the most of this opportunity to make a real difference.'

Ashely would appear before a UK housing, communities and local government committee currently conducting an inquiry into shopping strips and town centres.

A spokesman for the company said politicians had originally wanted somebody from House of Fraser to address to inquiry but Ashley had 'demanded' to go along in person.

Sports Direct said it had saved 'in excess of 20' House of Fraser stores.

The announcement came after Ashley threatened to shut all of the company's stores in shopping centres owned by Intu Properties due to new rent terms, according to a story reported by The Sunday Times.

At 1:18pm: [LON:SPD] Sports Direct International PLC share price was +3.25p at 294.65p

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