Sports Direct retail gross profit soared 22.7% to £104.8m in the nine weeks to March 31 as its business model proved resilient, according to chief executive Dave Forsey.

Retail sales increased 13.6% to £264.3m in the nine weeks to March 31. Total group sales jumped 14.3% to £317.4m and gross profit was up 22.7% to £128.6m.

Forsey said: “The strength of this performance continues to demonstrate the resilience of our business model, especially in the UK. Within our sports division, online sales now represent circa 15% of total sports retail sales.”

Sales in Sports Direct’s premium lifestyle division, which includes USC and Cruise but not Republic, which it bought earlier this year, rocketed 76.5% to £18m while gross profit advanced 42% to £7.1m.

As all targets under the sports giant’s Employee Bonus Share Scheme, set in 2009, have been met, 2,000 employees who have already received 25% of their base salary in shares last August will receive a further 75% of their salary in shares this August.