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Sports Direct grows its online business

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Sports Direct says 4.5% of its UK sales were online in its latest financial year – and it is looking at ways to grow its internet business further.

The figure, published in its full-year results this week, marks a significant rise for the retailer. In the previous year, 1.5% of sales were online.

Chief executive Dave Forsey said: “Online revenue continues to grow strongly and we will look at opportunities to develop this revenue stream further,” adding: “The website has benefitted from the increased recognition of the online brand.”

That was boosted through a television advertising campaign promoting the online channel between March and June 2010. The campaign, said the company, resulted in increased web traffic to the site. A second campaign is now likely to launch in the autumn.

Sports Direct’s results for the year to April 25 2010 saw group sales rise by 6.2% to £1.452bn from £1.367bn last year. UK sales rose by 11% to £1.1bn from £1.0bn last time, while international retail rose by 17.2% to £119.9m, from £102.3m.

Underlying pre-tax profit rose by 49.8% to £102.1m, from £68.2m.

Forsey said sales and profits were ahead of expectations of 12 months ago. This, he said, was thanks to the company’s delivering its promise of unrivalled depth and breadth of product choice at the best possible prices, aimed at serious sportspeople.

“Looking ahead,” said Forsey, “we are confident that initiatives we are taking across all areas of the group put us in a strong position for the next phase of our growth.”

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