Jul 20, 2017

Sports Direct doubles net debt as profits fall 60%

Sports Direct spent £317m on a portfolio of freehold property last year, nearly doubling its net debt even as profits slumped and executives worked to replace a £788m bank facility that is due to expire in just over a year. Although best known for running chaotic, dingy stores on shabby high streets, Sports Direct has lately favoured bigger shops in smarter neighbourhoods as part of its plan to improve relations with fashion brands and become the "Selfridges of sport". The figure will be determined using an unspecified formula at the "Absolute discretion" of Sports Direct's non-executive directors, including Keith Hellawell, a former West Yorkshire chief constable who had little experience of top-flight business before he became chairman of Sports Direct. Sports Direct said it was "Currently making appropriate arrangements for post-September 2018", when its £788m unsecured bank facility is due to expire. The company reported net debt of £182m, up 82 per cent from last year.

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