Sports Direct profit up

Sports Direct, the sportswear retailer controlled by the millionaire owner of Newcastle United, posted higher sales and profit on Thursday helped by growth in its core UK business.

Total group sales for the nine weeks ending 27 March rose 10.3 per cent to £236m, while gross profit increased by 7.3 percent to 88 million pounds.

Sports Direct added it expected to meet its target for reaching full year underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of at least £205m.

"We are pleased with the progress made by the group and these results continue to highlight the strength of our Retail division and the drive from our investment in margin and advertising," Chief Executive Dave Forsey said in a statement.

Sports Direct also said it intended to extend a company bonus share scheme.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley established the Sports Direct business after he left school in 1982. Ashley still controls a majority shareholding in the company.