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Profit at Mike Ashley’s holding company doubles

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley’s holding company more than doubled its pre-tax operating profit to £542.6m in the year to April 30, up from £256.4m in 2013.

Accounts for Mash Holdings, which owns Sports Direct, a selection of licensed brands and Newcastle United football club, show group sales during the period were £2.8bn, up from £2.3bn in 2013.

Revenues from the retail division increased by 25.9%, including a 24.1% increase in the sports arm, which was partly attributed to the acquisition of sports retailers EAG in Austria and SIG in the Baltic region in 2013. As a result, the number of sports retail stores increased from 498 to 665.

Premium lifestyle revenues also grew 49.4% during the period, largely due to the acquisition of Republic in February 2013.

The group said its sports retail division gross margin increased 260 basis points to 42.9%, but the brands division fell 180 basis points to 43.1%

The sports retail division had a turnover of £2.4bn, group pre-tax profit of £499.9m and net assets of £1.0bn. The brand division had a turnover of £247.5m, group pre-tax profit of £22.9m and assets of £85.6m.

Mash Holdings acquired the remaining 20% of premium menswear independent Cruise Clothing in May 2013 and sports brand and retailer Gelert out of administration for £4.7m in June 2013.

In December last year, Mash Holdings created two new subsidiaries, Mash Alpha and Mash Beta, and in January transferred more than 300 million of the shares it holds in Sports Direct International to Mash Beta by way of a gift.

@Tara_Hounslea

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