Sports Direct boss warns on Debenhams

Mike Ashley, the boos of Sports Direct, slammed Debenhams for not following his advice this week after the national department store chain dragged Sports Direct’s profits down by almost 73%.


Mike Ashley, the owner and CEO of Sports Direct

 Ashley, who upped his investment in Debenhams to 29.7% in March, said bosses at the department store company have continued to ignore his recommendations to make the business more profitable.

“At some point I will be smashing into [Debenhams] over why they cannot follow anything that Sports Direct suggests. Nothing,” said the retail tycoon, who had recommended Debenhams to start charging customers for its click and collect service.

Sports Direct customers are charged £5 if they opt for click and collect, and are given a £5 voucher when they pick up their purchase in store, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“Seventy percent of people will use (the voucher) and spend on average £25 in the store. Now let me think if that is a good thing? Oh yes it is,” Ashley told the newspaper.

The English billionaire has reason to be upset, as his business Sports Direct was forced to write down the value of its investment in Debenhams after its market value crashed by 64% over the past year. The £85.4m hit had a severe impact on Sports Direct’s annual profits, which fell by 72.5% to £77.5m in the year to 29 April.

The retailer also announced on Thursday morning that sales outside Europe boosted revenues, up 3.5% to £3.4bn but its UK sports retail sales fell 2.2% to £2.2bn. Shares in the company fell by as much as 11% in early trading on Thursday, but have recovered since.

The company has also strategic investments in House of Fraser, French Connection and Goals Soccer Centres.

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