Home shopping group Findel has decided not to appoint Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley as chairman as it unveiled a 5.3% rise in sales.

The express gifts retailer entered into discussions with Sports Direct earlier this month regarding a possible commercial supply agreement with the sports retailer and a proposal that Mike Ashley be appointed chairman. 

Findel confirmed today that Ashley would not be appointed chairman and said that, as a result of the delays to the appointment, outgoing executive chairman David Sugden will continue in the role until a new chairman is secured.

Sugden was due to hand over the reins to a successor at the company’s AGM today.

Findel said that while it remains of the view that “there is merit in a commercial supply agreement”, Sports Direct are “unwilling to take this forward until the role of Mike Ashley on the Findel board is clarified”.

Ashley has long had Findel in his sights. In March he raised Sports Direct’s stake in Findel to nearly 30% – close to the point at which it would have to table a formal bid.

Findel said that discussions on both topics are ongoing.

Recent trading

Findel also unveiled a 5.3% year-on-year sales uplift in a trading update today for the 17 weeks to July 22, and reported a 14.5% rise in product sales in its Express Gifts division for the year to date.

It said: “The group’s largest business Express Gifts has seen a very strong early response to its new marketing campaigns and is making good progress against its net new customer target of 100,000 for the full year.”

Findel said its education division has endured “difficult market conditions” however and has reduced its full-year profit expectations for this arm of the business.

Findel said that, because of its hedging agreements, the group is “well positioned to mitigate any currency effects of Brexit”.

The retailer added: “The effect on consumer confidence is being closely monitored but at present does not appear to be affecting sales.”