Frustration is mounting at Asda at the refusal by leading sportswear companies to sell it their clothes.

Ayaz Alam, buying manager for sports and DIY, said attempts to expand its sportswear range beyond items in the George range were hampered by branded sports fashion companies such as Nike and Umbro who continued to refuse to supply directly, forcing buyers to go to the grey market.

Asda was missing out on a huge opportunity, he admitted. "We have to buy Nike lines from third or fourth parties. It is frustrating. Most of our shoppers wear their clothes."

Earlier this month, Asda bought 3,000 Arsenal shirts and 2,000 Manchester United shirts on the grey market in Europe. Man United shirts were sold in Manchester and Lancashire, while the Gunners' were available in the M25 area.

Alam added: "We are looking at the opportunity to offer more football club shirts. Ideally we would like to choose ranges bespoke for each store."

Charlie Brooks, head of corporate communications for Nike UK, said: "Nike has a distribution policy established to ensure our products are available in an appropriate retail environment and with the necessary staff support to enable consumers to make an informed decision."