SPORTS Direct is opening a new store in Oxford, alongside rival sports supply outlet Decathlon.

Sports Direct already has stores in the Westgate Centre in the city centre and at Cowley Retail Park.

Now a third shop will open this summer at Seacourt Retail Park, West Oxford, which is currently being redeveloped in a £15m scheme.

It will create 30 new jobs.

The former Habitat/ Allied Carpets unit will accommodate Sports Direct, alongside French company Decathlon, with one unit remaining that is still to be let.

Decathlon sells equipment for more than 70 sports, including skiing, snowboarding and martial arts.


Eric Hall

The retail park is owned by the British Airways Pension Trust, and Eric Hall, joint director of agents TDH Estates, said planning consent has been given to renovate the Habitat/Allied carpets block, with neighbouring Homebase set to be redeveloped later.

He added: “Sports Direct will come in alongside Decathlon, so you will be able to buy a tracksuit in one and then go next door for a racket. My personal choice would be badminton.

“Decathlon has taken two units over 20,000 sq ft, while Sports Direct is taking one unit for 12,000 sq ft, with a mezzanine floor.

“We expect Decathlon to open in the spring with Sports Direct opening by the middle of the year.

“We are very pleased that these units have now been let.”

The national chain Sports Direct is run by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

Decathlon, which sells equipment for more than 70 sports from running and cycling to horse riding and scuba diving, will open on Thursday, May 1.

The firm was created in 1976 near Lille, France, and the Oxford store will be the fifteenth in the UK.

Vale of White Horse district councillor Eric Batts, who represents North Hinksey and Wytham, said: “I welcome Sports Direct coming to the retail park alongside Decathlon.

“Things are moving there rapidly.

“Sports Direct will also create jobs for people in the area and its arrival will mean families don’t have to travel into Oxford or Abingdon to buy sports kit or a pair of football boots.”

Work to revamp the 1980s retail park started in December with developers hoping to create 150 new jobs.

The scheme will create more than 5,000 sq m of extra floor space in 10 units but the BP petrol station is to be demolished.

Sports Direct spokeswoman Laura Hudson confirmed a new store would be opening in Oxford in June but said she could not provide any further details.

She was unable to say if staff would be working on zero-hour contracts.