Newcastle United take financial hit as Mike Ashley's retail empire posts £106m profit

Newcastle United’s balance sheet has taken a big hit due to coronavirus – but Mike Ashley’s retail empire is prospering.

Ashley’s Frasers Group, the company behind Sports Direct and House of Fraser, says a strong online sales – and a boost since the first lockdown ended – increased its profits in the last six-month period.

Pre-tax profit rose by 17.6% to £106.1million in the half year to the end of October – even amid a 7.4% drop in revenue to £1.9billion.

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The company said the increase had been driven by a strong start in its stores since lockdown ended. The figures end in October, so do not take into account the lockdown that hit England last month.

Mike Ashley.Mike Ashley.
Mike Ashley.

“Unfortunately the Covid-19 crisis continues to be a significant issue for all of us and we are currently living through a second wave. This has resulted in more lockdowns and restrictions which are materially impacting the business,” said chairman David Daly.

Frasers’ stores in England reopened this month.

Meanwhile, Newcastle, owned by Ashley, have been playing behind closed doors since the country first went in a lockdown in March.

However, 2,000 fans could return to St James’s Park later this month if the North East moves into tier two after a fortnight of tighter tier three restrictions following the second national lockdown.

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The Premier League avoided a more substantial financial hit by restarting last season in the summer, but the club’s income has been badly hit. Earlier this year United posted a £34.7million profit for the year to June 2019.

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