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Newcastle owner’s sportswear firm continues growth

SPORTS DIRECT ... more strong profits.

SPORTS DIRECT ... more strong profits.

NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley’s sportswear empire recorded more strong profits in the first half of this year, its latest figures have revealed.

But shares in Sports Direct International dived by as much as 10 per cent after the half-year results missed the elevated expectations of some analysts.

The company - controlled by Newcastle United owner Ashley - secured promotion to the FTSE 100 Index in September following a 70 per cent leap in its share price.

Latest figures show that sports retail revenues increased 13.4 per cent to £903.3m in the half-year.

This was driven by online growth of 43 per cent to £158m, representing 15 per cent of total sales.

Earnings in the division rose 17 per cent to £168.4m.

Its brands arm, which includes Slazenger, Donnay and Karrimor, saw revenues decrease 0.7 per cent to £106.2m in the six months.

The company said trading in recent weeks has returned to more normal levels, following the strong performance which saw it grow profits by 17 per cent to £146.2m in the six months to October 27.

The latest performance keeps it on track to meet targets under a new four-year bonus scheme, due in the summer of 2015.

Sports Direct believes much of its success is down to a lucrative bonus scheme, which recently rewarded around 2,000 staff with shares worth more than £68,000.

The company has 409 stores in the UK and also operates in 19 other countries.

 

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