Jul 14, 2011
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Sports Direct year profit up 25 pct

Jul 14, 2011

LONDON, Jul 14 (Reuters) - Sports Direct , Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer, posted a 25 percent rise in underlying year profit as it won market share from stricken rival JJB Sports.

The firm, controlled by Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said on Thursday it made underlying earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 200.4 million pounds ($321.2 million) in the year to April 24, after taking a charge for a bonus share scheme.

That compares with company guidance of at least 205 million pounds (excluding bonus) and 160.4 million pounds made in 2009-10.

This is in stark contrast to rival JJB, which has issued a string of profit warnings as it has battled to stay in business.

Sports Direct, which owns Sports World and Lillywhites stores as well as brands including Slazenger, Lonsdale and Dunlop, said revenues rose 10.2 percent to 1.59 billion pounds, helped by like-for-like UK retail sales growth of 6.6 percent.

"This has been an excellent year of growth for the group in what has been a challenging retail environment," Sports Direct's chief executive Dave Forsey said in a statement. "Our progress since the year end is in line with management expectations and we are confident of reaching our current year target of underlying EBITDA."

Shares in Sports Direct, 71 percent of which are owned by Ashley, have more than doubled over the last year. The stock closed at 258 pence on Wednesday, valuing the business at around 1.5 billion pounds.

($1 = 0.624 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Rhys Jones)

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