Olympic boost helps Sports Direct beat the slump

Nearly every other shop in Britain might be struggling to pay its way, but Sports Direct is flogging enough £1.49 tracksuit bottoms and 29p Wayne Rooney masks to send sales up 18 per cent to £403m in the nine weeks to October.

The chain, which runs almost 500 shops, thanked the Olympics for some of the boost. Sports Direct started piling up cut-price Team GB hoodies long before Mo Farah, pictured, won his second gold medal, and said that helped gross profits in the period to rise by 21.7 per cent to £167.4m.

Sports Direct also owns brands including Slazenger, Lonsdale and Dunlop, and has snapped up faltering rivals. Earlier this month the chain bought 20 stores and nearly all of the stock of rival JJB Sports after it fell into administration.

Yesterday, Sports Direct said it was confident of hitting its full-year earnings target of £270m.

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