Sports Direct, the U.K. sporting goods chain, has acquired a 9% stake
in Umbro, and also reiterated guidance for the current year. A
notification to the stock exchange revealed Sports Direct now holds
13.2 million Umbro shares.
A spokesman for Sports Direct told the U.K. press that the Umbro stake
was a 'strategic' investment, while a spokesman for Umbro declined
comment. Shares of Umbro had been under pressure after the soccer
company posted poor results.
Sports Direct, whose own brands include Dunlop, Lonsdale and Slazenger,
is in the process of acquiring Everlast Worldwide. Sports Direct has
also acquired small stakes in adidas AG and Amer Sports. It also
recently acquired Field and Trek, an outdoor goods retailer; and owns
stakes in Blacks Leisure Group PLC and John David Group PLC, owner of
the JD Sports chain.
Regarding guidance, Dave Forsey, Sports Direct's chief executive, said
that the group, which runs the Sports World and Lillywhites chains, was
sticking by guidance given in July when it forecast “limited” growth in
earnings this year.
In a statement ahead of the retailer's annual meeting, the company
revealed that total sales in the 13 weeks through July 29 were £335
million ($680 million) with gross profit at £149 million ($302
million). It did not provide year-ago comparative figures. The retailer
had issued two previous profit warnings this year, and traders were
worried about a third.
Forsey reiterated the wet weather this summer had had a “material” effect on business.