Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Briefing

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Briefing

Article excerpt

MIKE Ashley's sportswear empire posted a 21 per cent jump in retail sales as his grip on the market strengthened in the wake of rival JJB's collapse.

Sports Direct, which is controlled by Newcastle United owner Mr Ashley, racked up Pounds 495.8m in sales from its revamped online operation and estate of some 400 stores in the 13 weeks to January 27, helping the division's gross profits rise 23 per cent to Pounds 203.7m.

The figures exclude the 20 stores bought from the administrator of Wigan-based JJB, although analysts said there was no doubt the chain benefited from last autumn's collapse of one of the group's big competitors. HOME improvement chain B&Q posted a 6.4 per cent drop in sales after bad weather and consumer caution led to a "tough" winter quarter.

B&Q's owner Kingfisher said the UK and Ireland performance was offset by better trading at Screwfix, where sales rose 10.3 per cent on a year ago due to new outlets and the roll-out of its 'click, pay and collect' initiative. …

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