Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct said it would shutter 20 of its newly acquired Republic stores unless landlords Intu Properties and Land Securities Group agreed to lower rent prices, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.
The 500 employees from these stores are to be redeployed to other Sports Direct, Republic and USC stores, the company told the Telegraph.
Sports Direct, which runs SportsDirect.com and Lillywhites and was founded by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, had already closed a handful of the 114 Republic stores it bought from the failed fashion retailer's administrators in February.
The newspaper said Sports Direct had proposed either slashing the rent of its Republic stores to 15 percent of their turnover, or halving the current rent, business rates and service charges.
Three-fourths of Republic's landlords agreed to re-negotiate their leases, meaning around 80 stores will remain open, the Telegraph said.