Dec 14, 2017
Sports Direct shares take a hit as debt swells
Sports Direct trumpeted a "Spectacular trading performance" at its stores on Thursday but investors focused on lacklustre sales and spiralling debt, pushing its shares 10 per cent lower. The group said on Thursday that after founder and chief executive Mike Ashley made a series of contrarian bets on the British high street - scooping up shares in other listed retailers and expanding Sports Direct's property portfolio - net borrowing had risen to £472m in the first half. In the six months to October 29, Sports Direct spent £132m on buying shares in other retail groups including French Connection, Findel, House of Fraser and Game Digital. The retail tycoon described the rise in Sports Direct's debt as "In line with management's expectations". Sports Direct has also stopped making payments to Barlin Delivery, a company owned by John Ashley, it said.
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