Eyes on Sports Direct’s annual figures after Brexit vote

Published: Thursday 7th July 2016 by The News Editor

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Sports Direct will give more details on the hit from the record post-Brexit plunge in the pound when it posts annual figures today.

The results come after an eventful past few months for the group, which has been forced to warn over profits and seen its founder Mike Ashley appear in front of MPs to answer questions on the firm’s working practices.

Sports Direct also added to the number of firms alerting over the impact of Brexit when it warned the pound’s plunge against the dollar would take a toll on product buying.

It said it was not hedged against currency movements for the year ahead, in an ominous sign for the new financial year.

But it was Mr Ashley’s rare turn in the limelight that saw Sports Direct dominate the headlines last month.

The Newcastle United owner admitted he paid workers at its Shirebrook warehouse near Mansfield below the minimum wage, also telling MPs that he has discovered ”issues” with working practices at the retailer as part of an internal review.

Mr Ashley told MPs from the Business Select Committee that HMRC is also probing the firm over wages and that Sports Direct is in talks to offer back pay to staff.

The tycoon pledged to implement a number of changes to working practices within 90 days, promising to write to MPs if the time frame needs to be extended.

He also raised eyebrows in March after making a startling admission in a newspaper interview that the group was “in trouble”, forcing it to send out an alert warning that profits were expected at or around the bottom end of expectations.

This came after it had already trimmed forecasts to between £380 million and £420 million in January, against £383.2 million the previous year.

It will mark a sharp slowdown in profits growth, having previously notched up a 15.7% surge in annual underlying earnings.

Sports Direct, which runs around 400 stores across the UK, was knocked by poor Christmas trading amid unusually warm weather, and Mr Ashley has claimed negative publicity caused by MPs has hit trading further.

Published: Thursday 7th July 2016 by The News Editor

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