Retail chain Lifestyle Sports, Ireland's biggest sportswear retailer, has been bought by family-owned Stafford Holdings.

The sale price has not been confirmed but it is rumoured to be in the EUR40m (US$2.35m) region.

Lifestyle Sports was the subject of a management buyout from supermarket giant Tesco in 1997, after which it has risen to the top of the market.

The company posted sales of EUR145m for the financial year ended October2005 and has a payroll of about 900 in its 71 locations.

Stafford Holdings' principal businesses are within the oil and solid fuel sectors.

Stafford Holdings' chief executive Mark Stafford will take on the position of chairman of Lifestyle Sports.