Sports Direct feels the chill as a weak winter sports season slows salesComments Off on Sports Direct feels the chill as a weak winter sports season slows sales
However, bosses at the company insist they are still on course to hit targets of £360 million underlying pretax profits that will release an avalanche of free shares to around 2,000 full time employees.
Sales for the 13 weeks to January 25 were up 2.6% to £771 million, with gross profits up 7.6% to £346.9 million.
The growth came from its sports retail business, up 2.7% to £643.2 million, and its brands division, including Slazenger and Dunlop, rose 4.8% to £56.9 million.
However, its premium lifestyle sales dropped 0.4% to £70.9 million.
Chief executive Dave Forsey said: “Within sports retail we continue to focus on upgrading our store portfolio and integrating our business in Austria where a weak Winter sports season across Europe has proved challenging.”
It comes at a difficult time for Sports Direct following the departure of M&A director Jeff Blue and as the parliamentary Scottish Affairs Select Committee revealed it will be calling Sports Direct founder, Ashley, and his executives.
They will be asked to give evidence over the administration of USC, one of Sports Direct’s fashion brands, which went bust in January only to be bought back by another part of Ashley’s empire with debts wiped and around 80 job losses.
MPs will also question Ashley over his use of controversial zero hours contracts, which are used for round 90% of Sports Direct staff, and follows Labour leader Ed Miliband calling the businessman’s employment practices from the “Victorian” era.