Sports Division float threatened by retail gloom

SPORTS DIVISION, the sports retailer, is considering postponing its pounds 350m flotation because of the recent slowdown in sales on the high street. There is a crunch meeting later this week between the company and its advisers where they will decide how best to proceed.

Some analysts said it looked increasingly unlikely the fast-growing group would come to the market in April or May as originally planned. This timing had been seen as auspicious with the World Cup coming up in June.

Any postponement would be a significant blow not just for the company but the whole sports goods sector, which has enjoyed a huge boom on the back of the rising popularity of brands like Adidas, Reebok and Nike.

But it is thought that sales have been slower since Christmas and the whole retail sector has been suffering from the impact of higher interest rates. Sports Division's shops have been holding big clearance sales, indicating that they have been struggling to shift unsold stock.

John Richards, at the company's broker NatWest Securities, said the timing of the float had never been stated, but said: "We will go when the market conditions are right. The timetable is not set in stone."

The company would not comment on the possibility of its float being pulled. However, a spokesman added: "Sports Division does not have an absolute requirement to float because the company can comfortably fund its aggressive expansion programme through cashflow. It can pick its moment as to when it floats."

Nick Bubb, retail analyst at SG Securities said: "If demand is slackening which may be due to changing fashion trends or the wider economic backdrop, and the supply is increasing because of the aggressive expansion plans of these companies, then that is bound to affect profitability.

"These companies sell the same stuff at the same prices and there is not a lot to distinguish one from other. The market has been uneasy for some time about the amount of new space they are adding and demand has cooled since Christmas. That is not a happy background for a big float like Sports Division."

Sports Division has more than 250 stores and was transformed by the purchase of the Olympus Sports shops from Sears in 1995. Philip Green, the former Amber Day chairman, brokered that deal and now has a 13 per cent stake in Sports Division as a result.

It is understood that when the company floats Mr Green has given an undertaking to sell his entire holding. It is possible that if the company decides to delay its float, Mr Green's stake may be acquired by the company or by institutions

Sports Division, led by the chief executive Tom Hunter, has been battling with rival sports retailers such as JJB Sports, John David Sports, All Sport and First Sport, which is part of Blacks Leisure.

It is expected to record sales of pounds 310m this year. Its financial adviser is SBC Warburg Dillon Read with NatWest Securities acting as stockbroker.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss