Sports Direct's sales growth slows after weak winter sports Christmas

Sales at Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's Sports Direct grew 2.6% to £771m over the Christmas period

Sports Direct on Northumberland Street
Sports Direct on Northumberland Street

Sports Direct saw group sales growth slow down over Christmas, thanks in part to weaker winter sports season across Europe.

Mike Ashley’s high street sports retailer saw group sales for the 13 weeks to January 25 grow by 2.6% to £771m, up from £751m.

Sales over the same period last year had grown just over 11%.

The brand’s Sports Retail aim increased sales to £643.2m from £626.1m over the period as gross profit increased to £297.2m.

A 0.4% fall in Premium Lifestyle, the Sports Direct division which includes USC and Republic, saw sales drop to £70.9m from £71.2m.

The earlier sales figure excludes the performance of Republic which was acquired on February 28, 2013.

Dave Forsey, chief executive of Sports Direct International plc, said: “As we highlighted at our interim results in December, trading has been in line with management’s expectations. 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.

“While we retain the ability to invest in margin, inventory and group marketing to deliver long term sustainable growth, the Board is very confident of achieving at least our full year internal underlying EBITDA target of £360m, before the charge for the Employee Bonus Share Schemes.”

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