Sports Direct International 1H Sales Up 6.5 Percent 

Sports Direct International 1H Sales Up 6.5 Percent 

Sports Direct International Plc reported group revenue rose 6.5 percent to £1.43 billion in the 26 weeks ended Oct. 26.

The UK-based retailer, which has been acquiring retailers across Europe, reported revenues at its Sports Retail division increased 8.3 percent to £1.23 billion, while sales at it Premium Lifestyle and Brands segments declined 2.8 and 3.9 percent respectively.

Key highlights for the quarter included:

  • Sports Retail gross margin increased by 130 basis points to 44.5 percent
  • Group underlying EBITDA increased by 10.8 percent to £203.1 million.
  • Underlying profit before tax up 9.8 percent to £160.6 million.

“The results for the six months were solid considering the adverse impact on performance during the period of England’s early departure from the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the unseasonably mild weather during Autumn reducing footfall,” said Chief Executive Dave Forsey. “However, the continued growth in Group revenues and EBITDA is testament to the hard work of our colleagues and our continued focus on providing customers with exceptional quality and unbeatable value. We are delighted that their contribution will again be recognized under the 2011 Employee Bonus Share Scheme – 25 percent of which is expected to vest with eligible employees in September 2015.

“Trading since the period end has been in line with management expectations and while we retain the ability to invest in margin, inventory and Group marketing to deliver long-term sustainable growth, we remain confident of achieving at least our full year internal underlying EBITDA target of £360 million, before the charge for the Employee Bonus Share Schemes.”

The Group has continued its expansion in Europe, opening a further eight stores. The re-branding of stores in Austria to the fascia continues and the first store in the Baltics was opened.

In the first half of the year the Group increased its investment in Debenhams with the purchase of an additional strategic stake in the business. Sports Direct is currently testing four concessions within Debenhams stores. The Group has also acquired interests in Tesco and the online retailer MySale during the period.

“I am pleased also to announce that the Group has now established Sportsdirect, following the acquisition of 18 former LA Fitness gyms,” said Keith Hellawell, non-executive chairman for Sports Direct. “We have commenced building work on a new 20,000-square-foot dry gym and an adjoining 40,000 sq. ft. retail space in Aintree which will be fully open by the end of 2014 and another two similar units in St Helens and Keighley are expected to be operational in early 2015.”