Sports Direct smashes forecasts

City A.M. Reporter
SPORTS DIRECT, Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer, posted a big rise in sales yesterday as shoppers snapped up its cut-price deals and helped sustain a strong run for the shares that pushed the firm into the FTSE 100 index in this week’s reshuffle.
The company, controlled by billionaire Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, said trading in the 13 weeks to 28 July had beaten its expectations, with group sales of everything from footwear to football shirts and gym kit jumping 18 per cent on the same period last year to £613.3m.

Gross profit increased 23.2 per cent to £260.1m, while quarterly sportswear sales rose 14.5 per cent. Sales in its premium lifestyle unit, which includes USC, jumped 98.3 per cent.

The company, which did not give like-for-like sales figures, benefitted from higher gross margins in the period, its financial first quarter, and the acquisition of fashion retailer Republic in February.

Sports Direct, which has around 400 UK stores, has set its sights on a greater presence across Europe, where it operates in 19 countries.