Retail Week looks ahead to the next seven days, with an update from the beleagured Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct on the agenda.
Mike Ashley’s sports empire reports its preliminary figures on Thursday, July 20.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Ashley, with an appearance at the High Court over a £15m business deal that he insists was drunken “banter”.
It’s been an eventful year for both Sports Direct and Ashley, with the business taking a stake in French Connection and Ashley snapping up Agent Provocateur and increasing his ever-larger stake in struggling department store chain Debenhams.
Within the business itself, the controversial Keith Hellawell was re-elected as chairman despite a shareholder revolt after being voted through by majority shareholder Ashley, and the business appointed a workers’ representative following a parliamentary inquiry into the working conditions of its staff.
At its half-year, the business reported sinking profits amid a “tough” six months due to its failure to hedge before the value of the pound fell due to Brexit. Underlying pre-tax profit was down 57% to £71.6m, although sales held up, rising 4.2%.
At the time, Sports Direct said currency headwinds and various strategic challenges would adversely affect its financial performance in the medium term. Investors and industry observers alike will be keen to find out just how adverse those factors have proved.