Back of the net: Sports Direct profits rise 15%

Shares in Mike Ashley's sporting goods chain climbed over 6%. Score.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 20 Feb 2015

Sports Direct, the UK’s largest sporting goods seller, reported profits surged 14.6% in its Christmas quarter and said it was on track to hit its full year earnings target.

The retailer, majority-owned by maverick Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, said gross profit rose 14.6% to £280.7m in the 13 weeks to January 26. Sales were up 11.2% to £655.4m.

Sales at the group’s fashion arm, which includes brands such as Republic, USC and Flannels, were up a whopping 52.5% to £71.2m. It’s a pretty neat turnaround for Republic, which Ashley bought out of administration last February.

There was no mention of Debenhams from the company, after Ashley bought a 4.6% stake in the struggling department store last month only to sell it and short the shares three days later. The wannabe Philip Green (the Topshop owner and all-round retail mogul) rarely gives interviews either – he seems to like remaining a man of mystery.

Investors gave the thumbs up to Sports Direct’s results, sending the shares up over 6% in mid-morning trading. With the World Cup this summer likely to boost demand for football paraphernalia for wannabe Ronaldos and Messis, shareholders are probably expecting the retailer to score even higher.

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