Sports Direct proprietor sees ‘normality’ returning

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The proprietor of Sports Direct and House of Fraser says it’s seeing “a semblance of normality” returning, however warned that additional lockdowns stay a menace.

Frasers Group stated annual pre-tax income sank 20% to £143.5m as lockdown retailer closures led to “essentially the most difficult 12 months” in its historical past.

It additionally repeated its “frustration” over the issues at Debenhams.

Frasers’ boss Mike Ashley has beforehand expressed an curiosity in taking management of Debenhams.

The firm said in its statement on Thursday: “We continued to observe the additional demise of Debenhams throughout the 12 months with a lot frustration and disappointment because it entered administration for a second time.

“We raised our considerations and gave quite a few warnings about what we have been seeing there, a lot of which has materialised. Our presents of assist have been repeatedly disregarded and it’s scandalous that this enterprise has now been in administration twice.”

Online ‘robust’

The High Street has been battered by the pandemic, however Frasers stated virtually all shops throughout the group had now reopened.

In addition to Sports Direct and House of Fraser, the corporate additionally owns Flannels, USC, Jack Wills and Evans Cycles.

Its UK shops have been closed within the 23 March to 14 June lockdown interval, whereas its European shops have been additionally topic to restrictions.

However, it was capable of proceed buying and selling on-line with gross sales being “robust”, it stated. Frasers stated it meant to take a position greater than £100m in on-line.

Group income rose 6.9% to £3.96bn. “We contemplate we’re nicely positioned for the longer term,” stated Chairman David Daly.

Analysts at Liberum described the outcomes as “strong” and stated they pointed to additional development over the subsequent 12 months. Shares in Frasers, down a 3rd thus far this 12 months, opened up greater than 3% on Thursday.

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