// Frasers Group hit by lockdown closures with decline in revenue across majority of segments
// Premium lifestyle business was only section to improve
// Non-exec chairman David Daly says lockdown restrictions are “materially impacting the business”
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has reported a 29.1 per cent rise in profit after tax to £84.4 million in the 26 weeks to October 25.
The FTSE 250 retail group formerly known as Sports Direct said lockdown closures across its non-essential stores results in a 7.4 per cent drop in group revenue to £1.9 billion, with its UK Sports Retail business falling 9.8 per cent to £1.1 billion.
Its premium lifestyle stores was the only segment to improve, rising 4.8 per cent, attributed to Frasers’ new Flannels stores and increased web sales.
Across the half year the company made underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £226.3 million, compared with £181.2 million a year earlier.
“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,” non-executive chairman David Daly said.
“I do not wish to comment on the wider Covid-19 picture but from a general retail perspective it is impossible to ignore the lack of clarity of guidance when it finally arrives.
“Fortunately the Frasers Group is a strong business built on solid foundations. We can weather most of the storms faced this calendar year, however much of the UK High Street, which was already suffering before Covid-19, won’t survive unless the Government addresses the out of date business rates regime which is due to return come April 2021,” Daly added.
Frasers said it would raise the bottom end of its full year guidance for FY21, adding that it now believes the group will achieve a 20 per cent to 30 per cent improvement in underlying EBITDA during the full 2021 financial year.