Dec 16, 2019

Sports Direct profits rise amid ‘green shoots’ at House of Fraser

Sports Direct, the retail group controlled by retail billionaire Mike Ashley, said it expects underlying earnings for the full year to grow by between 5 and 15 per cent after reporting "Green shoots of recovery" at House of Fraser. Profit at the core UK sportswear business, comprising over 400 Sports Direct stores plus fashion chain USC, fell by 5.3 per cent to £140m. At group level, underlying earnings rose by 22 per cent to £181m, while the reported figure increased sharply due to proceeds from the sale and leaseback of its Shirebrook headquarters in Derbyshire. In spring, Sports Direct lost out in its attempts to seize control of Debenhams, the mid-market department store chain, leaving its 29 per cent equity investment worthless. In summer, Sports Direct parted company with auditors Grant Thornton after receiving a £605m tax demand from the Belgian authorities. The results were released as Sports Direct's own shareholders were due to vote on changing the company's name to Frasers, the brand used by several House of Fraser stores in Scotland.

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