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Sports Direct pre-tax profits rise 9.8%

Sports Direct’s underlying profit before tax was up 9.8% to £160.6m in the 26 weeks to October 26, as total sales increased by 6.5%.

Group underlying EBITDA was up 10.8% to £203.1m. Retail gross margin increased by 130 basis points to 44.5%.

Chief executive Dave Forsey said: “The results for the six months were solid considering the adverse impact on performance during the period of England’s early departure from the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the unseasonably mild weather during autumn reducing footfall.

“However, the continued growth in group revenues and EBITDA is testament to the hard work of our colleagues and our continued focus on providing customers with exceptional quality and unbeatable value.

“Trading since the period end has been in line with management expectations and, while we retain the ability to invest in margin, inventory and group marketing to deliver long-term sustainable growth, we remain confident of achieving at least our full-year internal underlying EBITDA target of £360m.”

The business continued its expansion in Europe during the period, opening a further eight stores, including its first in the Baltics.

It also increased its investment in Debenhams with the purchase of an additional strategic stake in the business, and is currently trialling four concessions in the department store chain. Sports Direct also acquired interests in Tesco and etailer MySale during the period, and established Sports Direct Fitness following the acquisition of 18 former LA Fitness gyms.

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