Retail group Mike Ashley takes over leading fashion retailer North | Instant News


Mike Ashley Frasers Group’s retail empire has swooped into the premier fashion retailer on Teesside.

Newcastle United owner and serial entrepreneur has taken over designer clothing company Middlesbrough Psyche in an undisclosed deal, years after the owner initially turned down a purchase offer.

Soul owner Steve Cochrane, who has owned the company for 38 years, will remain with the company after the deal, saying it secures the future of brick and mortar shops, online operations and 58 employees.

She said: “After 38 years as an independent fashion retailer we’ve never seen the uncertainty surrounding a pandemic with local closings, it’s great to have the security and support of one of the UK’s strongest retailers to continue to employ our talented staff and serve us loyal customers.

“Joining the Frasers Group will allow us to grow and develop.

“It will give us economies of scale and efficiency by being part of a large company.”

The deal includes Psyche’s 40,000-square-foot luxury fashion boutique in Middlesbrough, which sells more than 200 high-end brands for men, women and children, and is currently closed due to Tier 4 restrictions.

It moved into the building from its previous premises, also on Linthorpe Road, as part of expansion plans in 2003.

In 1995 Psyche won UK Designer Retailer of the Year ahead of Selfridges on Oxford Street and Mr Cochrane, saying he was first approached with a potential sales offer in 2017.

He turned down the offer – but was recently contacted by Frasers Group founder Mr Ashley.

The businessman visited four years ago during a trip to see his Flannel shop in Middlesbrough.

Mr Cochrane added: “When Mike came three years ago, he said it was the best shop he had seen outside London.

“They are really great to face. Many highways are on the brink of failure, but this deal ensures that Psyche is now part of something bigger and safer.

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