Sports Direct on the sidelines as Adidas kicks off

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Sports Direct fell more than 12 per cent yesterday despite a rise in pre-tax profits, after disappointed investors were denied the upgrade to target that they were expecting.

Sports Direct, which was promoted to the FTSE 100 in September, reported a 23.5 per cent rise in revenues to £1.35bn in the six months to 27 October.

Underlying pre-tax profit jumped by 17 per cent to £146.2m, and chief executive Dave Forsey said it was confident of hitting its full-year target of £310m, which triggers a bumper bonus payout for staff.

Sports Direct added that its longstanding finance director Bob Mellors would retire at the end of December on health grounds.

The firm also clashed with sportswear giant Adidas, which has refused to supply Mike Ashley’s retail empire with next season’s replica Chelsea football kit. Forsey said Adidas’s decision to pull the club’s on field replica kits was “impossible to understand”.

“We built our business from a very strong football category – we used to be called Sports Soccer at one point.

“For us to not have the kit the Chelsea team will be playing in week in week out next year is a concern because consumers will be disappointed,” he said.

Adidas defended its decision as “normal business practice... Like all manufacturers, we regularly review, season by season, where our products are distributed.”

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