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Sports Direct hits a sticky patch

While Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has been in the news of late with regards to his investment in Newcastle United Football Club and the turmoil caused by the departure of Kevin Keegan, it seems that there is also turmoil elsewhere in his business empire. Sports Direct has confirmed that trading conditions 'remained the toughest in the group's history' prompting research analysts to get out their red pens to profit estimates for the full year.

While sales have held up and gross profit still seems to be fairly firm there is a suspicion that costs have crept higher and have not been passed onto the consumer. One analysts has already marked down his full year forecast from £145 million to £140 million on the back on the first quarter unaudited figures. After being floated at 300p per share they now languish at just 76p but what does the future hold?

It does not take a rocket scientist to appreciate that the sports retail sector is both competitive and under pressure and this together with the fact that Sports Direct does not have a happy relationship with the City does not bode well for the future. However, Mike Ashley is not a reputed billionaire for no reason and he has much experience to fall back upon.

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