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Lord Rose warns Mike Ashley over becoming an ‘oligopoly’

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The former chief of Marks and Spencer, Lord Stuart Rose has warned Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley’s plans for becoming an “oligopoly” of Britain’s high streets.

After Ashley’s latest attempt to take control of Debenhams Lord Rose advised he should “think twice” over building an empire of high streets, following the strong growth and rise of online shopping competition, such as Amazon.

Speaking to the Press Association, Lord Rose said Ashley risks leaving his retail empire inflexible as the market is fast changing.

Lord Rose who is now the chairman of online giant Ocado said, “My view in retail is to stay nimble, lean and mean. You need to be able to turn on a sixpence.

“I wouldn’t want to lock myself into anything that’s not flexible, we’re operating in a fast-moving world.”

Lord Rose who is chairman of a number of firms including Ocado, Fat Face, and Oasis suggested that Ashley may have had a lucky escape with the troubled retailer Debenhams.

He added, “What we’ve still got in most sectors in the UK is too much capacity in terms of bricks and mortar.

“Unless you’ve got a really strong brand or unique selling point, you’re going to find you’re squeezed. That’s why the Debenhams of this world are struggling, that’s why BHS disappeared.”




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