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Sports Direct International Plc Reports Sales Up 15%

The shares of Sports Direct (LSE: SPD) gained 4p to 710p during early trade this morning after the retail chain reported its sales had advanced 15% during the nine weeks to 29 September.

The FTSE 100 member, which operates around 400 stores across the UK, said total group sales had improved from £403m to £464m. Gross profits were lifted by 19% to £200m during the same period.

Sports Direct said its core retail chain saw sales increase by 15% and gross profits climb 20%, while the group’s Premium Lifestyle division enjoyed a 75% sales surge and an 83% profit leap.

Dave Forsey, Sports Direct’s chief executive, said:

As we highlighted this time last year, the London Olympics was followed by an excellent ‘back to school’ period.  Therefore to continue to produce these numbers, especially within Sports Retail, clearly demonstrates the strength of our business model.

Since the end of September trading has remained strong and the Board is therefore confident of reaching the full year internal stretch underlying EBITDA target of £310m (before the charge for the Employee Bonus Share Scheme).

Prior to today, City experts were predicting Sport Direct’s current-year results would show earnings up 15% to 31p per share alongside a reinstated dividend of 10p per share.

Following this morning’s price movement, the shares could trade at 23 times possible profits and offer a potential dividend income of 1.4%.

Of course, whether that valuation, today's trading update as well as the broader prospects for selling cheap tracksuits all combine to make Sports Direct a 'buy' right now is something only you can decide.

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> Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.