Sports Direct sales up as investment in store technology continues

Sports retail sales at Sports Direct International continue to rise, as does the bottom line, according to an interim management statement released by the company this week.

Revenue for the 13-week period to 25 January 2015 jumped by 2.7% to £643.2 million, with gross profit increasing 9.4% to £297.2 million.

Group sales, which includes figures from its separate lifestyle brands such as Dunlop, Slazenger and Lonsdale, were up 2.6% to £771 million and gross profit grew by 7.6% to £346.9 million.

Dave Forsey, CEO of Sports Direct International, said trading has been in line with the management's expectations, and there continues to be a focus on upgrading the sports retail store portfolio and integrating its business in Austria "where a weak winter sports season across Europe has proved challenging".

One current area of investment for the business is the roll-out of new PIN pads across its UK estate. 

Point of sale hardware provider Spire Payments, which will be exhibiting at RBTE 2015 next month, is supplying 4,000 EMV-approved SPp30 pads as part of the project. Spire has developed a bespoke payment application which interfaces with the Sports Direct cash till system and allows the processing of transactions on a cloud-based payment gateway from fellow RBTE exhibitor TNS.

Accredited by Barclays, the pads are currently being deployed in Sports Direct stores across the UK. They are fully compliant with PayPass 3.0.x (MasterCard), payWave 2.1.x (Visa) and Expresspay 3.0 (American Express), as well as offering a card-scheme-approved hardware platform for NFC and contactless card payments. 

Ryan Baillie, project manager at the sports retailer, commented: "Sports Direct prides itself on delivering industry recognised customer satisfaction, part of which is providing the ability to accept all types of card payment securely and efficiently.

"The solution being delivered by Spire Payments in partnership with TNS should allow Sports Direct to not only make this strategy reality but also optimise our trading ability by removing the risk of business interruption due to external network issues."

There was no mention in today's interim management statement about recent disputes relating to the treatment of Sports Direct staff.

Company founder and Newcastle United Football Club owner Mike Ashley has been summoned to the House of Commons, where the Scottish Affairs Committee is investigating the cases of 200 warehouse workers in Ayrshire who were dismissed when employer USC fell into administration.

The workers at the fashion chain, which was acquired by Sports Direct in 2011, said they were not sufficiently consulted prior to their dismissal.

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Spire Payments