British sportswear and fashion group Frasers reported a 61.7 percent rise in first-half core earnings, driven by a strong performance from its shops as they reopened after Covid lockdowns, plus the opening of new Flannels stores and online growth.
Shares in the group, formerly called Sports Direct and controlled by founder Mike Ashley, were up 0.6 percent at 09:16 GMT on Thursday, extending 2021 gains to 58 percent.
Frasers is pursuing an “elevation” strategy to take its business upmarket. Other brands it owns include House of Fraser, Jack Wills and Sofa.com.
It said it was cautious on the outlook, given macroeconomic headwinds on the horizon in the form of cost increases, supply chain issues and potential squeezes on consumer spending power.
There is also still the risk that measures to curb Covid-19 could adversely affect the outlook with restrictions returning, including lockdowns in Europe.
“Notwithstanding the above risks… we do believe the group can achieve an adjusted profit before tax of between £300 million to £350 million for the period ended 24 April 2022 on the proviso there are no substantial lockdowns imposed in the UK, particularly over the important Christmas period,” it said.
Analysts at Liberum raised their full-year profit forecast by 7 percent to the mid-point of the forecast range and their price target to 900 pence from 850 pence.
On Wednesday, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher Covid-19 restrictions in England, ordering people to work from home, wear masks in public places and use vaccine passes to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.
Ashley is set to step down as chief executive in May and be succeeded by Michael Murray, his daughter’s partner and Frasers’ current “head of elevation”.
Ashley, who owns about 66 percent of the group’s equity, will remain on the board as an executive director.
In September, Frasers’ investors backed an executive share scheme which could earn Murray £100 million.
The group reported adjusted pretax profit of £186.8 million ($246.6 million) for the six months to Oct. 24, up from £115.5 million a year earlier.
Group revenue rose 23.6 percent to £2.34 billion.
By James Davey; Editors; Paul Sandle, Jason Neely and Jane Merriman
Parent company Frasers Group — formerly known as Sports Direct — announced that the department store had been served notice by its landlord who has received planning permission to redevelop the site.