Mike Ashley’s retail empire forecasts profits of up to £390.3m for the year to April 2020 after underlying pretax profits increased 58% to £101.8m in the first half. Losses almost halved to £15.9m at its premium lifestyle business, which includes House of Fraser, although the group plans to close more branches in the coming year.
Sales for the half year to 27 October rose 14% to £2bn, largely as a result of the inclusion of House of Fraser and growth at Flannels, the group’s designer fashion chain. Excluding acquisitions, revenue at the core sports business fell 8.6%.
David Daly, the chairman of the group, said he believed its strategy of “elevating”, or moving towards more upmarket products and improved stores, was working.