Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sports Direct eying further European expansion


Sports retail chain Sports Direct has posted a 23.5 per cent rise in first-half group sales as it seeks further European expansion.

The retailer, which has 400 stores across the UK, also saw a 43 per cent surge in online revenue with mobile now making up 20 per cent of web visits. It saw pre-tax profit rise 17 per cent to £146.2m. 15.5 per cent of sales are now made online.

Sports Direct, who have signed major stakes in Austrian and Baltic sports chains Sports EYBL and Sports Expert Group, wants a greater European portfolio where it operates across 19 countries.

Anusha Couttigane, fashion consultant at Conlumino, said the group can focus more on branding and consumer outreach in the UK after brand divisional sales fell 0.7 per cent.

“This was due largely to the sale of Firetrap, one of Sports Direct‘s better-known fashion brands. Yet Premium Lifestyle, which represents one of the biggest opportunities in its UK operations, has seen some progress with majority stakes acquired in Yeoman‘s Outdoor Limited and Robinsons Country Limited, she explained. “The latter, a leading supplier of equestrian goods, sits well in line with the development of Sports Direct‘s premium lifestyle division.”

The firm said it was confident of reaching at least its full-year target of underlying EBITDA of £310m.