Sports Direct started off as a single store in Maidenhead trading in 1982 under the name Mike Ashley Sports. The company opened its second shop Preston Sports shop in London in 1984, and by 1992 the company had 12 stores. By 1996, the company had 50 stores and also acquired the Donnay tennis and golf brand. The business was incorporated in 1999. Within the next four years, by 2000, the business had 80 stores and had signed a joint venture with 22 stores in Belgium trading as Disport. The firm also acquired the Lillywhites chain of stores and the Lonsdale brand in 2002 and the following year increased the number of stores under their name to 150.
In 2004, Sports Direct went on to acquire Dunlop Slazenger which included three brands; Dunlop, Slazenger and Carlton, the company also bought Karrimor and Kangol and brought it under its brand name.
Sports Direct has more than 470 stores in the United Kingdom including the chain store sportsdirect.com, Field & Trek, Lillywhites and USC.