Sports Direct says online sales grew by 52.1% in its latest financial year, and now account for 15% of all its retail sales. That's up from the 11.6% of the sports equipment and fashion retailer's sports retail sales that took place online at the same time last year.
The company said its investment in the Sports Direct.com website, launched in 2006, had reaped benefits – and that investment would continue in the year ahead. "Our online offering provides an excellent opportunity to expand the range and value of products available to our customers, reinforcing our position as the Consumers' Champion by delivering exceptional quality at unbeatable value," said the full-year statement, which said that investment would continue. "Promotions such as daily deals have proved successful and we will continue to invest time and resources in further developing our multichannel offering." Initiatives such as click-and-collect are now expected to be introduced.
The growth helped fuel a 20.9% rise in group revenues to £2.2bn in the 52 weeks to April 28
, while pre-tax profits grew by 40% to £207.2m, from £148m at the same time last year. UK like-for-like sports retail sales grew by 11.6%.
More than 2,000 Sports Direct staff are now set to receive windfalls, some topping £100,000, under the compay's bonus scheme for staff who had worked at the business for a year in 2009 and went on to stay for another four years.
Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said the year had been a "record-breaking one" both for the group and for British sports. "We are pleased that both have continued to be successful this year and that our strategy of being the Consumers' Champion continues to reap rewards," he said.
"Our colleagues have worked hard throughout the year and, as a result, we have exceeded the second underlying EBITDA target of £250m set under the 2011 Employee Bonus Share Scheme and the stretch target of £270m. This means the group has successfully met the first two targets while there remain two more years to go under the 2011 Employee Bonus Share Scheme.
"There is no doubt that the Group's record-breaking results were in the large part down to our colleagues and their hard work. The Employee Bonus Share Schemes have continued to drive this performance and we are pleased that eligible employees will be rewarded in August as the second and final part of the 2009 Employee Bonus Share Scheme vests."
The company now trades in 19 European countries following expansion during the year, when its international retail sales grew by 20.1%.