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Sports Direct strong Q3 ahead of expectations

Sports Direct retail sales grew 10.2% to £408.6m in the 13 weeks to January 22 as the retailer outperformed management expectations.

The retailer said it is now certain of reaching both its full year underlying EBITDA target of £215m and the “super stretch” scheme target of £225m, revealed at its Interim Results in December 2011.

Retail gross profit jumped 10.7% to £165m in the period.

Group total sales were up 9.1% to £453.8m and gross profit surged 10.2% to £184.4m.

Sports Direct said the numbers do not include the recently set up premium lifestyle division, which comprises recently bought acquisitions USC and Cruise.

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said: “The Group has had a strong third quarter and experienced significant growth in its ecommerce division. Underlying performance in the period, particularly since December, has outperformed management’s expectations.

“Trading has continued to remain strong since the end of January and we shall continue to invest in margin, inventory and extra group marketing.”

Its wholesale brands division, comprising brands including Kangol, saw revenue decrease 1.7% to £45.2m. Gross profit increased 7.8% to £19.4m. 

Sports Direct opened four stores in the UK in the period and closed six. It opened three stores in Portugal and one in Cyprus. It closed one store in Belgium.

The retailer said: “In light of this strong performance, the Board will be reviewing the Group’s dividend policy at the end of this financial year.” 

It will update on its preliminary results on Thursday July 19.

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