Sports Direct soars with boost from Olympics

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The Independent Online

JJB Sports is on its knees, but arch-rival Sports Direct showed it a clean pair of heels yesterday with a stellar set of sales figures after it struck Olympic gold.

Sales for the 13 weeks to 29 July soared 25 per cent to £519m, with profit up 20 per cent to £211m.

Those booming figures leave its founder and owner Mike Ashley in line to pocket 8 million shares as part of a bonus deal agreed last year. Those shares would be worth £256m at yesterday's share price, enough to pay for several new players at Newcastle United, which he also owns.

The chief executive Dave Forsey said: "Since the end of July, trading has remained equally strong, especially within the UK sports retail division, where sales have also been boosted by the tremendous performance of Team GB at the London Olympics."

Bhaven Patel, a trader at Accendo Markets, said: "These results also highlight that Mike Ashley has played the trump card with pricing strategy and store management, showing a bit more finesse than the too-often-tagged approach of stack-em high, sell-em cheap."

He added: "The past week has seen competitor JJB Sports pushed to the brink of administration, and serves as a comparison to the 'value' mantra of Sports Direct, which has been in tune with constrained high street spending conditions."

The shares added 10p to 324p.