* Q4 total sales up 14.3 pct to 317.4 mln stg
* Q4 gross profit up 22.7 pct to 128.6 mln stg
* Says certain of reaching 2013 FY underlying EBITDA target
* To open first store in Poland
LONDON, April 24 Britain's biggest sporting
goods retailer Sports Direct posted a 14.3 percent rise
in fourth quarter sales as squeezed consumers found the cash to
splash out on sports products.
The group, which owns Sports Direct.com and Lillywhites
stores and in February bought failed fashion retailer Republic,
said on Wednesday total sales in the nine weeks to the end of
March were 317.4 million pounds ($485.16 million), up from 278
million a year earlier.
That followed a 21 percent rise in its third quarter after a
Gross profit in the nine week period rose 22.7 percent to
128.6 million pounds, the firm said, reiterating that it would
meet its 2013 full-year underlying EBITDA target (earnings
before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of 270
million pounds, before a charge for bonus share schemes.
While many British retailers have struggled as consumers
grapple with rising prices and muted wage growth, heavy
discounter Sports Direct has coped well, benefiting from the
woes of its rivals, a growing internet presence, staff motivated
by a lucrative bonus scheme and expansion.
The firm said online sales now represented 15 percent of its
total sports retail sales. On Tuesday plans for the firm's first
store in Poland - to be opened in July - were also announced.
Shares in the Sports Direct, which have risen 60 percent in
a year, closed at 446.6 pence on Tuesday, valuing the business
at around 2.7 billion pounds.