House of Fraser revival 'challenging'

House of Fraser store Image copyright Getty Images

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has said his firm faces "significant challenges" in turning around the House of Fraser store chain, which it bought in August.

Mr Ashley said he believed that its previous management team "traded the business whilst it was insolvent for a long time".

However, he repeated his intention to turn House of Fraser into "the Harrods of the High Street".

Mr Ashley was speaking as he unveiled Sports Direct's half-yearly results.

In the 26 weeks to 28 October, it saw a 62% rise in pre-tax profits year-on-year to £74.4m.

However, underlying profits saw a 27% slump to £64.4m, reflecting the costs of acquiring House of Fraser.

"Outside of the House of Fraser acquisition, the Sports Direct Group has had another successful period," said Mr Ashley.

He added that excluding the department store chain, Sports Direct expected to be within its forecast for growth of between 5% to 15% by the end of the financial year.

"Including House of Fraser, we expect to be behind last year's result."

Sports Direct non-executive chairman David Daly said: "The fact that Sports Direct is responsible for saving thousands of jobs at House of Fraser, at a time when the High Street is under immense pressure, is an achievement of which everybody in the Group should be extremely proud."

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