Ashley’s Frasers Group retail empire has increased its investment in fashion firms Hugo Boss and Asos.

The retailer, which owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, said on Monday it now owns a 5.1% stake in online fashion retailer Asos.

Mr Ashley’s company is now the fourth largest shareholder in Asos, which owns brands including Topshop.

It comes days after Asos fell to an annual loss and warned it would remain in the red in the first half of the new financial year amid recovery efforts and an “incredibly challenging” economic situation.

Frasers also told investors on Monday that it had increased its investment in German fashion house Hugo Boss.

Frasers said it now has a maximum exposure to Hugo Boss of around £840m, up from the £770m reported in June.

Under the investment, Frasers owns 4.3% of Hugo Boss and also has a 28.5% stake through put options.

Put options are contracts that give the owner the right to sell an asset in the future at a pre-agreed price. Put options, unlike common stock, do not contribute to majority ownership or voting rights in the business.

However, the latest investment increase gave Frasers a 32.8% stake in the German firm, down from 30.9%.

“Frasers Group’s strategic investment opens up new opportunities for the company, as well as helping to support the long-term future of existing retail businesses and the thousands of jobs they support,” the company said.

“Frasers Group has broad ambitions to grow the business within and beyond the UK and is constantly exploring the potential for further expansion.”