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Sports Direct delays results again

Sports Direct delays results again
FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk past Sports Direct store on Oxford Street in London, Britain December 17, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo -
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Simon Dawson(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Sports Direct, the British sporting goods retailer controlled by Mike Ashley, said it was still finalising its delayed full-year results but expected to release them on Friday.

The results for the year to April 28 were originally due out on July 18 but the firm and its auditor Grant Thornton needed more time to prepare the accounts.

Sports Direct said on Wednesday it would publish the results on Friday. They were initially due at 0600 GMT but Sports Direct said at 0740 GMT they would be delayed again.

“Unfortunately we are still finalising preliminary results,” Sports Direct said in a statement. “We anticipate that our annual results will be still be released today … and will update again at midday.”

Shares in Sports Direct were down 0.8% at 0838 GMT, extending year-on-year losses to 43%.

“This is no way to run a public company,” said independent retail analyst Nick Bubb.

The results are keenly anticipated because they will reveal the extent of the problems Sports Direct has had integrating the House of Fraser department store business it bought out of administration last year for 90 million pounds.

Some 62% of Sports Direct’s equity is owned by Ashley, its founder and chief executive, who also owns Premier League soccer club Newcastle United.

The group said on Wednesday the results were expected to be within guidance issued by the company in September.

Excluding House of Fraser, growth in underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was put in a range of 5% to 15%. Including House of Fraser underlying EBITDA was forecast to be lower than the 2017/2018 result.

Sports Direct’s core chain has been a relatively resilient performer in recent years, compared with a string of British retailers that have either gone out of business or closed stores due to subdued consumer spending and a shift to shopping online.

But the group has also engaged in a raft of dealmaking that has complicated the business and stretched its management.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Smout and Edmund Blair)

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