Sports Direct probed over Rangers shirt sales

The Mike Ashley-owned Sports Direct are being investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency. Picture: PA

The Mike Ashley-owned Sports Direct are being investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency. Picture: PA

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THE Advertising Standards Authority are investigating allegations that Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct sold Rangers shirts with misleading online pricing.

The advertising watchdog is looking into complaints that the Ashley-owned sports goods retailer was selling Rangers’ new Puma shirts on sportsdirect.com advertised as being reduced from £59.99 to £47.99 when in fact they had always been retailing at the lower price.

The Herald reported that the complaint challenged whether “the savings claim was misleading and could be substantiated”.

The ASA have acknowledged the complaint and have said they will investigate it. They will approach Sports Direct for their comments as part of the probe.

Sports Direct were the subject of a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary which aired two weeks ago which shed light on business practices at the company, including their discount pricing strategies.

Sales at the retailer jumped to £2.7 billion last year with a profit increase of £207 million.

As the 22nd richest person in Britain, Ashley has a reported fortune of £3.5bn, owning Newcastle United FC and a 8.9 per cent stake in Scottish Championship club Rangers.

Fans reacted strongly to news that the previous Ibrox regime approaved a ten-year deal with Ashley which resulted in Sports Direct becoming the offical kit manufacturer and retailer for club merchanise, including the selling of shirts.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Ashley had demanded Rangers repay a £5 million loan he made to the club before the Dave King-led takeover of Ibrox.

An ASA spokeman said:” I can confirm that we are formally investigating whether the savings claim for a Rangers home shirt on the Sportsdirect.com website is misleading.

“We will publish our findings in due course.’

Sports Direct was contacted by The Scotsman and is awaiting comment.

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