Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group doubles its profits to £660.7million — with sales rising by 15.8% | The Sun

MIKE Ashley’s Frasers Group has toasted its scattergun stake-building in rival retailers with a 97 per cent profits jump.

The retail empire has seen pre-tax profits almost double from £335.6million to £660.7million in the year to the end of April.

Its boost in profits came as the group — which now includes brands and businesses ranging from Agent Provocateur to Sofa.com, Gieves & Hawkes and Flannels — saw sales rise by 15.8 per cent to £5.6billion.

It said young shoppers are still flocking to buy its sportswear and casual luxury clobber.

Chief executive Michael Murray — Mr Ashley’s son-in-law — said the young customer base had broadly escaped the financial squeeze of rising mortgages, groceries and energy bills.

He said: “Gen Z consumers are obsessed with maintaining their social status with the outfits they wear, and Flannels is one of the few places that sells Gucci, Off-White, Balenciaga and Prada on regional high streets.”


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Mr Murray has been pushing the retail group — once best known for Sports Direct’s bargain bins — upmarket as part of his “elevation” strategy.

Revamping stores and investing in its brands is beginning to pay off, with Mr Murray boasting that Nike had, for the first time, classed Sports Direct as one of its top five global retail partners.

The retailer is also planning a major roll-out of its “buy now pay later” finance division, Frasers Plus, for shoppers to use across its different brands.

The finance offer is already regulated, as the company inherited the FCA licence when it bought catalogue retailer Studio Retail, formerly known as Findel.

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Mr Murray said Frasers Group’s return to aggressively acquiring stakes in other companies was “part of our DNA”.

He added: “We’re not going to stop, no matter what other people’s opinions are about it.”

Yesterday, Frasers Group raised its stake in online fashion retailer Asos to 15 per cent.

This year alone it has bought stakes in Boohoo, AO World and Curry’s.


THE boss of ITV warned that the market was facing the worst advertising recession since the 2008 financial crisis, as the firm’s earnings more than halved.

The broadcaster of Love Island and The Chase said earnings fell 52 per cent to £152million in the six months to the end of June as total advertising revenue slumped by 11 per cent.

Statutory pre-tax profits slumped even more by 79 per cent to £45million from £219million.

Boss Dame Carolyn McCall said that advertisers had been reluctant to spend when headlines had been dominated by downturn warnings and the cost-of-living crisis.

Profits were also hit by its investment in new streaming service ITVX, which it said now attracted 12.5million users a month.

BT hit by hang-up

THERE looks like no glorious farewell for BT boss Philip Jansen as shares slipped 2 per cent on the back of it losing 126,000 broadband customers.

The telecoms firm said the exodus came after rivals stole a march on fibre network roll-outs to provide faster internet.

 BT has put fibre in 11million homes but wants to reach 25million by 2026. Profits still rose 11 per cent to £536million after a 14.4 per cent rise in customer bills. Revenues rose 4 per cent to £5.2billion.

Barclays boom

PROFITS at Barclays rose by almost a quarter to £1.33billion after the bank benefited from charging borrowers higher interest rates.

The news beat City expectations but has fuelled criticism that banks are not passing on higher rates to savers, despite pushing up costs on loans and mortgages.

Shares in Barclays fell yesterday after it warned margins would come under pressure from a slump in investment fees, due to a lack of deal-making, and extra competition on interest rates.

Nestle milks it

NESTLE hiked prices in Europe by 11.3 per cent in the past year, with new parents and pet-owners suffering the most from higher prices on baby formula and pet food.

Its numbers revealed that profit margins had increased to 17.1 per cent — almost six times higher than super- markets’ profit margins.

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 Nestle said that globally it had increased prices by 9.5 per cent, but consumers in Europe were hit worst.

 Nestle said it would raise prices at a “more moderate rate” for the rest of the year.


BARCLAYS down 8.66 to 155.40

BP up 1.10 to 479.70

CENTRICA up 9.35 to 133.35

HSBC down 1.80 to 642.30

LLOYDS down 0.28 to 45.05

M&S up 1.60 to 207.30

NATWEST down 1.90 to 239.90

ROYAL MAIL up 2.20 to 270.80

SAINSBURY’S down 0.90 to 285.40

SHELL down 32.50 to 2,364.00

TESCO up 2.60 to 260.70

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