Mike Ashley’s retail empire Sports Direct has delayed announcing its financial results, following speculation about a fall in earnings, in a year in which the group pursued several large-scale takeover bids.
Sports Direct said in a statement it would delay the publication of its results for the year to 28 April 2019, which were due to be announced this week, until later in July or August.
The company blamed the delay on ”the complexities of the integration into the company of the House of Fraser business, and the current uncertainty as to the future trading performance of this business, together with the increased regulatory scrutiny of auditors and audits”.
It noted that the audit by Grant Thornton was taking longer than anticipated, but that the process was thought to be at “an advanced stage”.
Analysts expect Sports Direct to reveal a substantial drop in profits for the year. The Sunday Times reported that underlying earnings will fall by 7.5% to £283.1m, despite a 9% rise in sales to £3.7bn.
Data company S&P Global Market Intelligence estimated that earnings could even fall by 20% to £122m.
House of Fraser, which Ashley’s group bought for £90m in August 2018, is thought to be the main financial drain on the business.
Over the past year, Sports Direct bought video game retailer Game Digital, cycling store Evans Cycles and digital furniture retailer Sofa.com.