Retailer Sports Direct Reports 22% Rise In Profits, Spurred By Olympics
Retailer Sports Direct "shrugged off last month’s executive pay dispute," and has extended "its strong summer performance into the autumn," according to Adam Jones of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The U.K.’s leading sports retailer said that sales in the nine weeks to Sept. 30 were £403M ($646M), up 18% on the same period a year earlier, aided by the acquisition of clothing brands including Firetrap. Gross profit rose 22% to £167M ($267M). The group, which is also expanding in continental Europe, said it had been buoyed by an “excellent” back-to-school season, as well as by shoppers inspired by the London Games (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/24). REUTERS' Neil Maidment reported that retailers across the U.K. are "generally struggling as consumers' disposable incomes are squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth and government austerity measures." Sports Direct has "coped well, benefiting from the woes of its rivals, its value offer, a growing Internet presence, highly motivated staff due to a lucrative bonus scheme and European expansion." Shares in the firm, controlled by billionaire Newcastle United Owner Mike Ashley, closed at 404 pence on Tuesday, up 74% from a year ago. The business is now valued at around £2.5 ($4B) (REUTERS, 10/24).