While JJB's fate remains undecided, Sports Direct International (SDI) has enjoyed another buoyant quarter: The retailer saw its turnover increase by 25.3 percent to £519.0 million (€641.2m-$841.5m) for the 13 weeks until July 29, pepped up by the international sports events held during the period. Its gross profit jumped by 20.4 percent to £211.1 million (€260.8m-$342.3m).
The figure includes a jump of 19.9 percent to £441.4 million (€545.3m-$715.7m) for sports retail sales and a rise of 14.8 percent to £179.2 million (€221.4m-$290.5m) in the gross profit of the sports retail unit. Sports Direct ended the period with four more stores in the U.K. and seven more in other countries, including two stores in Hungary but excluding the Icelandic store it opened through a joint venture, as previously reported. In its interim statement the company added that trading had remained equally strong since the end of July, as Team GB dazzled at the London Olympics.
Meanwhile, the retailer's premium lifestyle stores reached sales of £28.8 million (€35.6m-$46.7m) for the period, with a gross profit of £12.1 million (€14.9m-$19.6m). There is no directly comparable figure, because the unit mostly consists of USC and Cruise stores that were acquired in July last year.
As for the brands division, its turnover jumped by 15.4 percent to £48.8 million (€60.3m-$79.1m), while its gross profit advanced by 10.6 percent to £19.8 million (€24.5m-$32.1m). These sales were inflated with the turnover of Firetrap, which reached £4.0 million (€4.9m-$6.5m) at wholesale and netted a gross profit of £1.4 million (€1.7m-$2.3m), while it was not included for the same period last year.
The company said it continued to target underlying Ebitda of £270 million (€333.6m-$437.8m) for the full fiscal year, before charges relating to its bonus scheme. However, the company's shareholders rejected a proposal to award a special bonus of 8 million shares (currently worth about £25 million [€30.9m-$40.5m]) to Mike Ashley, the majority shareholder of the company, in case SDI achieves demanding targets in the next three years.
It had been agreed that Ashley himself would not take part in the vote and that it would require a majority of more than 75 percent of other votes at the general meeting held at SDI's head office in Derbyshire earlier this month. More than 60 percent were in favor, but the board still had to withdraw its proposal and it will come forward with a new “super-stretch” scheme. Ashley is reportedly not earning any remuneration at Sports Direct in his function as executive deputy chairman.