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Business & Economy

Sports Direct delays results as uncertainty compounds House of Fraser “complexities”

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has warned its financial forecasts could be affected after being forced to postpone the publication of financial results.

The retailer cited “complexities” over the integration of House of Fraser into the business, “current uncertainty” over future trading and increased regulatory scrutiny for the delay.

Bosses said the deferral could “materially affect the guidance given” over its financial results late last year.

The company was due to publish its preliminary results for the period to April 28 later this week.

However, officials have now confirmed they expect an announcement between July 26 and August 23.

According to a trading update revealed today (Monday, July 15), the firm, which previously made a £51.9 million bid for computer gaming chain GAME, needs extra time to pull together information for its results.

A spokesperson said: “The reasons for the delay are the complexities of the integration into the company of the House of Fraser business, and the current uncertainty as to the future trading performance of this business.

“(This is) together with the increased regulatory scrutiny of auditors and audits, including the FRC review of Grant Thornton’s audit of the financial statements of Sports Direct for the period ended April 29, 2018.

“These factors have led to a need for the company to compile more information than in previous years for the audit of period ended April 28, 2019 and has therefore impacted on preparations for and responses to increased challenges in connection with this audit.

“Grant Thornton has also required additional time to complete its audit work for the period ended April 28, 2019, leading to the delay in the publication of the company’s preliminary results announcement.

“Sports Direct would also note that increased regulatory scrutiny is leading to longer lead times generally for the completion of audits.

“Sports Direct believes its accounts and their audit to be at an advanced stage.

“However, there are a number of key areas to conclude on which could materially affect the guidance given in Sports Direct’s announcement of December 13, 2018.

“Sports Direct would note that its core principles in regards to its financial statements are to be conservative, consistent and simple.

“This is an important element for the company and is even more relevant in an uncertain economic environment for UK retail generally.”