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'Shambles' as Sports Direct's results delayed


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There is confusion surrounding the release of results from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, after the firm failed to publish them early on Friday morning.

In a statement, Sports Direct said it was “still finalising” the results, but anticipated publishing them on Friday.

It is extremely unusual for results to be delayed in this way, and one analyst called events “an utter shambles”.

The full-year results have already been delayed once – originally they were due to be reported on 18 July.

At the time, Sports Direct blamed the delay on uncertainty over the future trading performance of the House of Fraser chain, which it bought last year, as well as increased scrutiny of its auditor Grant Thornton. It also indicated that it might not achieve its profits forecast.

‘Disregard for shareholders’

In a short statement released on Friday at midday, Sports Direct said: “We are currently still finalising our preliminary results and will update you again at 14:00.”

The firm had earlier apologised after delaying the release of its results and cancelling an investor presentation at the last minute.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, said the events were “a total and utter shambles” that “betrays a number of problems at the business after [Mr] Ashley embarked on his rather random acquisition spree.”

“Above all it betrays a total disregard for shareholders,” he said.


Analysis

By Simon Gompertz, BBC personal finance reporter

“We’ve stop being surprised by Sports Direct,” said an exasperated investor outside its cancelled results presentation just off Oxford Street this morning.

Delaying the figures once is an embarrassment. Putting them off again is being described as a shambles.

Bewildered journalists, investors and City analysts were left to speculate about the reasons.

That’s not good for a company engaged in one of the most challenging tasks on the High Street, breathing new life into House of Fraser.

One investor’s view is that Sports Direct’s head office is “run on a shoestring” so that handling the House of Fraser situation was always likely to be rocky.


UK-listed companies normally publish their results at or close to 07:00, before the London markets open at 08:00.

Sports Direct shares fell in early trading on the London stock market before recovering.

The firm had been due to give a presentation to investors and media at 09:00.

Guardian journalist Rob Davies tweeted:


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