Sports Direct races ahead

Mike Ashley&rsquo;s budget sports retailer Sports Direct gave an up beat pre-close trading update, saying it is still confident of achieving earnings before interest, tax and depreciation of at least &pound;150m in the current financial year.<br /><br />Ashley also said the board is comfortable the company could reduce its net debt to below &pound;400m. <br /><br />The company, which said in September that trading since July &ndash; the beginning of its financial year &ndash; has been ahead of the previous year. The retailer is thought to have reaped the benefits of suppliers&rsquo; wariness of rival retailer JJB Sports before it refinanced in the summer.<br /><br />Separately, Sports Direct and JJB Sports are currently under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading and the Serious Fraud Office over a suspected sports retail cartel.