UK sporting goods chains Sports Direct International and JJB Sports both received visits from investigators today (10 September), probing a suspected agreement to dampen competition in the sports retail market.

Both companies confirmed the visits through statements to the London Stock Exchange.

JJB said Office of Fair Trading (OFT) officers visited its offices in Wigan following its own approach to the OFT on 30 January "for immunity pursuant to the OFT's leniency programme in relation to a suspected agreement or concerted practice to dampen competition in the sports retail market".

JJB said it referred to the period from 8 June 2007 to 25 March 2009, while former chief executive Christopher Ronnie was employed by the company.

Meanwhile, Sports Direct said representatives from both the OFT and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) were visiting its head office in Shirebrook today.

"Sports Direct's philosophy is to promote competition in the sports and leisure market and its record demonstrates this," the company said.

Both companies said they were assisting and cooperating fully with the investigations.