Wednesday, September 11 15:54:31
Sports Direct, Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer, posted a big rise in sales on Wednesday, as shoppers snapped up its cut-price deals and helped sustain a strong run for the shares that is set to take them into the FTSE 100 index.
The firm, controlled by billionaire Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said trading in the 13 weeks to July 28 had beaten its expectations, with group sales of everything from footwear to soccer shirts and gym kit jumping 18 percent on the same period last year to 613.3 million pounds ($964 million).
Gross profit increased 23.2 percent to 260.1 million pounds, while quarterly sportswear sales rose 14.5 percent. Sales in its premium lifestyle unit, which includes USC, jumped 98.3 percent.
The company, which did not give like-for-like sales figures, benefitted from higher gross margins in the period, its financial first quarter, and the acquisition of fashion retailer Republic in February.
The group, which owns Sports Direct.com and Lillywhites stores as well as famous product brands including Slazenger, Dunlop and Lonsdale, has grown rapidly in Britain during the downturn, thanks partly to the demise of rivals such as JJB Sports, as well as acquisitions and growing online sales.
Sports Direct is set to be promoted to the FTSE 100 on Wednesday after its share price jumped to all-time highs following a 40 percent surge in profit in July.
The shares were up 1.7 percent at 728 pence by 1256 GMT on Wednesday, putting the stock on a prospective price-earnings ratio of over 21, which compares with a median of 16 for other major UK-based retailers, according to Thomson Reuters data.