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Sports Direct sales up 18.2% ahead of FTSE promotion

Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct said it had made a strong start to its financial year as it reported that group sales had climbed by 18.2% to £613.3 million in the 13 weeks to 28 July.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Sports Direct sales up 18.2% ahead of FTSE promotion

Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct said it had made a strong start to its financial year as it reported that group sales had climbed by 18.2% to £613.3 million in the 13 weeks to 28 July.

The group's gross profit increased by 23.2% to £260.1 million in the period.

While sports retail sales grew by 14.5% to £505.3 million, sports retail gross profit increased by 20.3% to £215.6 million.

During the period, the company opened 11 shops in the UK, closed three core stores, and opened two non-core stores. This took the square footage for sports retail in the UK to circa 4 million square feet by 28 July. 

Sports Direct’s European sports retail business opened three stores in the period - one in Spain and two in Poland.

The retailer’s 28-strong brands division, which includes Dunlop, Slazenger and Karrimor, increased its revenue by 4.3% to £50.9 million, while corresponding gross profit rose by 7.6% to £21.3 million.

Sales at Sports Direct’s premium lifestyle division, which includes USC, Cruise Clothing and The Flannels Group, soared by 98.3% to £57.1 million with gross profit increasing by 91.7% to £23.2 million.

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey, said: "As we highlighted at our Preliminary Results in July, the Group has experienced a strong start to the year with trading ahead of management's expectations. This performance is in part attributable to the historic investment in gross margin; the on-going investment in product range and availability; and continued optimisation of our online and in-store product offer.

"We are in the process of integrating our recent acquisitions, including Republic in the UK, Sports Eybl & Sports Experts in Austria and Sportland in the Baltic region. As a result, we continue to target our internal stretch underlying EBITDA target of £310 million (before the charge for the 2011 Employee Bonus Share Scheme)." 

The news comes as Sports Direct looks set to be promoted to the FTSE 100 Index for the first time since its stock market debut in 2007.

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