Huge jump in profits

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A SPORTSWEAR empire with branches in Portsmouth, Fareham and Havant, has seen a huge jump in sales.

Sports Direct, which belongs to Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, has racked up £495.8m in sales from its revamped online operation and estate of some 400 stores in the 13 weeks to January 27. The figure helped gross profits rise 23 per cent to £203.7m.

It excludes the 20 stores bought from the administrator of JJB.

Anusha Couttigane, of consulting firm Conlumino, said: ‘As rivals within the sports sector have dropped off the high street, it seems Sports Direct has hurdled through the recession to become the chief beneficiary of Britain’s galvanised interest in the activity.’