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SBD Global/July 18, 2014/Finance

Retailer Sports Direct In Peace Talks With Adidas Over Sale Of WC Replica Shirts

Sportswear retailer Sports Direct and adidas have "held talks about the sale of replica football shirts after the German sports brand refused to supply the high street retailer with key World Cup products," according to Graham Ruddick of the London TELEGRAPH. Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer is "understood to have visited Sports Direct's new flagship store on Oxford Street in London in recent days and has held discussions with Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley." Sports Direct CEO Dave Forsey said, "The top level discussions have been a lot more encouraging. They see a lot more of what we are working on." The retailer and adidas "have clashed over the supply of replica football kits." Adidas has "refused to supply Sports Direct with official on-pitch replica World Cup shirts for countries including Germany and Argentina." This prompted a "furious response from Sports Direct, which has spoken to competition authorities about its concerns" (TELEGRAPH, 7/17).

RECORD PROFITS: In London, Andrea Felsted reported Sports Direct on Thursday "announced record profits." Sports Direct said that "full-year pre-tax profit rose" 16% to £239.5M, helped by an "increase in sales in stores and online." Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, "excluding the cost of the retailer's employee share scheme," rose 15% to £331.1M in the year to April 27. The performance means that Sports Direct is "on track" to exceed its £300M ($513M) target for this financial year, the "final year of its four-year employee share scheme." This would mean 3,000 employees sharing 20 million shares, worth about £140M ($240M) at Thursday's share price. For an employee on £20,000 ($34,211), this could mean a payout of about £70,000 ($119,700) at the current share price, spread over '15 and '17 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/17).
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