Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Jobs boost as sports chain opens store

Retailer Sports Direct has announced the opening of a new store in Newry on the same day the company reported a sharp rise in sales.

The 12,000 sq ft shop in the Quays Shopping Centre will create 50 new jobs for the town and will join the firm’s 13 other stores throughout Northern Ireland.

It comes as Sports Direct — which was formed by Newcastle United football club owner Mike Ashley — said the UK’s sporting summer had helped it bump up profits by over 20% to £211m in the 13 weeks to July 29.

The chain has nearly 400 stores across the UK and has sold an array of sportswear geared towards the Olympics — including the Team GB kit designed by Stella McCartney.

A spokesperson for Sports Direct said the company will continue to look for opportunities to grow its business in Northern Ireland.

“This is a great milestone for us and further demonstrates our commitment to developing the Sports Direct brand in Northern Ireland. Over the last eight years our development here has been driven by the growth in demand from consumers for great value sportswear, footwear and equipment.”

The impressive profit figures mean Ashley — now Sports Direct executive deputy chairman — remains on track for a potential £24m pay-out in 2018, as the retailer continues to eye ‘super-stretch' earnings targets up to 2015.

Shares rose 4%, continuing their stellar run in recent months.

Chief executive Dave Forsey said: “During this unprecedented sporting summer our retail performance continues to go from strength to strength.

“Since the end of July trading has remained equally strong, especially within the UK sports retail division where sales have also been boosted by the tremendous performance of Team GB at the London Olympics.”

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