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Sports Direct posts strong first-half profits

Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct increased its underlying pre-tax profit by 16.9% to £146.2 million in the first half of its financial year as sales rose ahead of expectations.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Sports Direct posts strong first-half profits

Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct increased its underlying pre-tax profit by 16.9% to £146.2 million in the first half of its financial year as sales rose ahead of expectations.

In the six months to 27 October 2013, total sales surged by 23.5% to £1.34 billion while UK sports retail revenue rose by 13.4% to £903.3 million.

Online sales for sports retail grew by 43% meaning that internet sales now contribute 15.5% of the group's sports retail sales compared to 12.5% in the same period last year.

Sports Direct continued to expand in Europe during the period by acquiring stakes in Sports Eybl & Sports Experts (EAG) in Austria as well as Sportland International Group (SIG) in the Baltics.

International sports stores sales grew by 30.8%, excluding the acquisition of EAG and SIG.

The group said its board was confident of achieving at least the full-year internal underlying EBITDA target of £310 million before the charge for its Employee Bonus Share Scheme.

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said: "We have delivered another strong performance reflecting our continued focus on providing customers with exceptional quality and unbeatable value - reinforcing our position as the consumer champion. The growth in group revenues and EBITDA has been ahead of expectations and achieved against a tough comparative that included the UEFA European Championships and the London 2012 Olympics.

"The performance of Sports Retail is particularly pleasing with significant growth in the UK, Europe and online. The group's expansion in Europe has also continued with acquisitions in Austria and the Baltic states. The integration of these acquisitions is progressing and we continue to look for further opportunities across Europe.”

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