Opinion: Has Mike Ashley made a meal of his masterplan?

Sports Direct Worcs

Sports Direct’s postponement of its full-year results has set off City alarm bells – has the retailer’s founder Mike Ashley bitten off more than he can chew?

The sports retailer dismayed analysts as it revealed that its highly anticipated preliminary results, originally scheduled for July 18, would now be withheld until as late as August 23.

The retailer, whose share price fell 9% and at one time hit a low of 220.2p, not seen since early 2012, on the news, said the 11th-hour hold-up was down to complexities integrating the House of Fraser department store business and “current uncertainty as to the future trading performance of this business”, as well as increased scrutiny of its auditors Grant Thornton by the Financial Reporting Council.

Arguably more alarming, however, was the warning from Sports Direct that the eventual completion of “a number of key areas” of its accounts and audit “could materially affect” the guidance given at the interim mark last December.

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