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Volume 6 No. 248
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Finance Notes: Ashley Says Sports Direct On Track Despite Drop In Profits

First-half pre-tax profits "have plunged again" at Sports Direct but Founder Mike Ashley claimed that the retailer’s strategy was on track with "spectacular trading." Britain’s largest sportswear retailer said that its statutory pre-tax profits had fallen nearly 68% to £45.8M ($61.6M) in the six months to Oct. 29. The "sharp drop in profits comes hard on the heels of a very difficult performance last year," when Sports Direct’s full-year profits dropped by 60% to £113.7M. Ashley said that he was "pleased with the performance, however, as its underlying profit, which strips out the impact of currency and one-off costs," was still "healthy" at £88M ($118.3M) (LONDON TIMES, 12/14).

Signing a deal with Nike sent the shares of high-performance foam manufacturer Zotefoams "sprinting" up 14% on the main market on Wednesday. Zotefoams announced it struck an "exclusive strategic partnership" with Nike, "sending its shares up 56¾p to 458p." The company will supply Nike with material for its footwear (LONDON TIMES, 12/14).