A dramatic year for Sports Direct is expected to be capped-off with shrinking profits

 
Oliver Gill
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Sports Direct Founder Faces Commons Select Committee Over Working Conditions
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley faced a number of challenging questions from the BIS Select Committee (Source: Getty)

The story of Sports Direct’s year will be laid out in numbers this week, as it releases its annual results on 7 July.

The retailer has lurched from one drama to another since the end of 2015. Analysts expect earnings of £372m - slightly lower than the latest company guidance of £380m.

It will probably come as a distant memory that the sportswear giant appeared to be on course in late September to achieve its full year target earnings of £420m, when it reported half-year results of £218.5m.

The problems started with allegations of malpractice in the workplace after an undercover BBC investigation.

Next, two separate profit warnings in the Spring straddled an update that Ashley had bowed to public pressure and removed his shareholder loan facility – a move that was doubling interest costs.

In June, Ashley appeared in front of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee. He admitted to having uncovered working practices that he labelled “unacceptable”. He also conceded that the company may have become too big for him.

Finally, just last week Sports Direct had to admit that it had not hedged its US dollar position leaving it exposed to the weak post-Brexit pound.

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