Sports Direct sales rise despite 'fragile climate'

Sports Direct store
Image caption Sports Direct said that trading in recent weeks had been in line with forecasts

Sports Direct has hailed a "strong performance" after reporting half-year pre-tax profits of £100.3m, almost unchanged from the same period in 2010.

The retailer said that an 8.4% growth in sales to £888.6m came despite a "fragile consumer climate".

Chief executive Dave Forsey said he was particularly pleased because the comparison with last year included a sales boost from football's World Cup.

Sports Direct said online sales rose 85% for the six months to 23 October.

Mr Forsey said: "The group has yet again delivered a strong performance in what is an exceptionally challenging consumer trading environment.

"Growth has been achieved... against strong FIFA World Cup comparatives."

In a statement, Sports Direct said that trading since the beginning of November had "remained in line with management's expectations" and that it saw "substantial potential" to grow online sales.

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