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Sports Direct profits soar but World Cup impact mixed

Sports Direct delivered its best ever day of trading on the day England played the USA in this year’s World Cup and has posted a surge in full-year profits.

However performance during the rest of the tournament was less successful, the retailer reported.

“Sales correlated with the poor performance of the England team and the negative mood this created among fans and consumers,” said Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey.

Sports Direct, which sells brands such as Reebok, Adidas and Kangol, had expected England to be one of the last eight teams in the tournament and the squad’s exit meant the retailer was unexpectedly left with product on its hands.

Forsey said: “The negative impact of clearing the excess stock will offset some of the positive pre-tournament trade.”

Sports Direct’s reported profit before tax leaped 1,016.8% to £119.5m in the year to April 25, when underlying profit before tax rose 49.8% to £102.1m and underlying EBITDA was up 17.3% to £160.4m.

Group sales rose 6.2% to £1.45bn. UK retail turnover advanced 11% to £1.12bn and the like-for-like gross contribution was up 3.4%.

Forsey said Sports Direct’s performance had beaten initial expectations and he is targeting underlying EBITDA of £195m this year.

He said: “We are confident that the initiatives we are taking across all areas, including improved staff training and new in-store merchandising areas, put us in a strong position for the next phase of our growth. We believe we are stronger operationally than ever.”

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