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Sports Direct shares slump 13 per cent despite earnings increase

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Sports Direct share have fallen by 13 per cent this morning, as roughly £500m was wiped off the stock market value value of the business despite underlying Group EBITDA increasing by 7.6 per cent.

The company today (10 December) announced that profits before tax rose to £187.3m in the six months to 25 October, while underlying earnings were up to £218.5m.

However, the company’s share price fell sharply on the results, with analysts citing underwhelming sales figures and the fallout from the closure of a large number of USC stores as reasons for the slump. Corporate governance issues were also flagged as a possible drag on the share price, with practices at the company’s Shirebrook warehouse coming under fire following an undercover report from The Guardian.

Company founder Mike Ashley has been diversifying his retail empire in recent years, with a concerted push into leisure. The company has launched 30 Sports Direct Fitness gyms and also bought a stake in five-a-side football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres, while Ashley also owns Newcastle United Football Club and has a stake in Rangers.

Announcing today’s half-year results, Sports Direct International CEO Dave Forsey said he expected sales to increase during 2016 due to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 European Football Championships.

"Within Sports Retail our commitment to upgrading our store portfolio continues to deliver gross margin growth and is a significant contributor to our strong EBITDA result,” said Forsey.

“We continue to innovate, refine and improve our customer proposition. In line with this strategy, during the period we opened new larger format stores in Leeds and Plymouth and combined gym and retail spaces in St Helens and Newport.

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Sports Direct share have fallen by 13 per cent this morning, as roughly £500m was wiped off the stock market value value of the business despite underlying Group EBITDA increasing by 7.6 per cent.
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