The City has continued to cautiously back Sports Direct after a positive pre-close update, despite a pending Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the business.

Ahead of its preliminary results, Mike Ashley’s sports chain said it expects to achieve EBITDA of £160m for the full year to April 25. The group also had a solid Easter with sales in the nine weeks to March 28 up 2.9% to £208m.

Oriel Securities analyst Jonathan Pritchard said: “A strong platform is in place for the heavy trading period surrounding the World Cup.”

However, he warned: “Sadly this is overshadowed by the pending SFO investigation and given the lack of clarity it is hard to be outspoken about the shares.”

Singer analyst Matthew McEachran said given positive commentary surrounding Easter trade, and with the World Cup ahead, “prospects remain bright”.