House of Fraser future hinges on rates reform, warns Ashley

hof christmas

Sports Direct founder and chief executive Mike Ashley has warned that the future of his vast retail group’s bricks-and-mortar portfolio is dependent on the “broken and unworkable” business rates system being overhauled.

What a difference six months makes. Cut back to July and Sports Direct was scrambling to file its full-year results on the scheduled date – which had already been pushed back – having been upended by an eleventh-hour €674m tax bill from the Belgian authorities.

Then, when underlying EBITDA slid 6% to £287.8m, Ashley admitted he “regretted” buying beleaguered department store House of Fraser.

Today, the retailer’s interim results make for very different reading, with underlying group EBITDA rising 21.8% to £181.2m, or up 15.1% stripping out currency fluctuations and acquisitions.


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