Business

Sports Direct 'clarifies' earnings forecast after Ashley comments

Mike Ashley and Sports Direct store Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Ashley's comments sent Sports Direct's shares plunging on Tuesday

Sports Direct has said it expects full-year underlying earnings to be "at or around the bottom" of a previously estimated range.

The sportswear retailer issued a statement after its shares dived on Tuesday following comments from founder and deputy chairman Mike Ashley.

Mr Ashley was quoted by The Times as saying "we can't make the same profit we made last year".

He also said: "We are in trouble, we are not trading very well."

Sports Direct's shares fell more than 10% on Tuesday following the comments.

In a short statement on Wednesday, Sports Direct said it now estimated that underlying earnings for the full year to the end of April 2016 "are at or around the bottom of the range announced on 8 January 2016", which was between £380m and £420m.

Staff conditions

On Tuesday, the House of Commons speaker said MPs could order Mr Ashley to answer their questions about how his workers are treated.

John Bercow said the matter could be taken further by immediately assessing if Mike Ashley could be held in contempt for refusing to appear at Westminster.

Mr Ashley branded MPs "a joke" on Monday as he said he would not attend, despite being formally summoned.

A Commons committee wants to quiz him over a review of staff conditions.

A BBC investigation in October 2015 found that ambulances were called out to the headquarters of Sports Direct 76 times in two years.

Former workers said some staff were "too scared" to take sick leave because they feared losing their jobs.

Sports Direct said at the time that it aimed to provide safe working conditions for all. In December, the company said it would review all agency worker terms and conditions.

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