Ashley offloads shares as Sports Direct reports 15pc jump in sales

City A.M. Reporter
GOLDMAN Sachs said yesterday it would sell up to 16m shares in Sports Direct acquired from the retailer’s founder and deputy chairman Mike Ashley, after the retail chain reported strong sales for the second quarter.

The bank said it would sell the shares to institutional investors, with bookbuilding starting immediately.

The announcement came after Sports Direct posted a 15 per cent jump in second quarter sales and said strong trading since left it confident of hitting its profit target.

In its first trading update since entering the FTSE 100 Index last month, the firm reported total sales of £463.7m in the nine weeks to 29 September. Gross profit rose 19.4 per cent to £199.8m.

Sports Direct, which has 400 UK stores and owns brands such as Slazenger and Dunlop, has grown rapidly during the downturn, thanks partly to the demise of rival JJB Sports, as well as acquisitions and growing online sales. It has been aggressively expanding it presence across Europe where it now operates in 19 countries.

Sports retail sales rose 14.8 per cent and jumped 75 per cent in its smaller premium lifestyle unit, boosted by fashion retailer Republic, which it bought in February.