BLACKS Leisure was embroiled in another row with its biggest shareholder today after claims that suppliers would pull their goods out of its stores if a takeover by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct succeeded.

Sports Direct, which owns 28.5% of Blacks, has blocked a fundraising by the retailer, while a takeover proposal was rejected earlier this month.

The firm said it was weighing up a "material increase" in its offer - but delivered an ultimatum to Blacks on Friday to give details of key suppliers who would not supply the chain if the Sports World owner won control.

Sports Direct accused Blacks of selectively disclosing the names of unsupportive suppliers contrary to takeover rules - and threatened to go to the Takeover Panel if it failed to give up the names within two hours.

Blacks denied the claims and said it had immediately referred Sports Direct’s letter to the panel.

The public statements by the two firms follow weekend reports of fears among some suppliers - including North Face - over Mr Ashley's reputation as a heavy discounter.

Blacks snubbed a £26 million takeover approach from the Newcastle United owner two weeks ago as "wholly inadequate".

Sports Direct’s letter said it was "giving serious consideration" to a much better offer but did not indicate the likely size of the increase, Blacks added.

Blacks announced plans for expansion through a £20 million fundraising earlier this year, although the proposals foundered on opposition from Sports Direct.

The retailer however plans to side-step Sports Direct’s opposition to its plans by restructuring the vote in a way that only requires a simple majority of shareholders.

The retailer, which has more than 300 Blacks, Millets and Freespirit stores, is rebuilding after a difficult period when it closed 87 loss-making stores late last year.

The firm wants to refurbish its core estate and reopen shops in areas where it closed stores that it felt were subject to high rents and therefore loss-making despite strong sales.

Blacks employs about 5,500 staff in stores and at its head office and distribution centre in Northamptonshire.