(Bloomberg) -- Frasers Group Plc stuck to its profit goal for the year and said it expects lucrative growth in 2025 and beyond, as the retail empire majority owned by tycoon Mike Ashley weathers Britain’s cost-of-living crisis.
Frasers, which owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, reiterated its goal of adjusted profit before tax at a record £500 million ($628 million) to £550 million for this financial year. The company said there’s been strong trading momentum in the first half and that has continued into the early weeks of the second half, especially at Sports Direct.
The shares rose as much as 1.1% in early trading in London, and have gained 29% since the start of the year.
Founded by entrepreneur Ashley in the 1980s, Frasers has been run by his son-in-law Chief Executive Officer Michael Murray since last year. Murray is pursuing a strategy of upgrading stores to attract the biggest brands while also acquiring stakes in rival retailers and buying smaller distressed brands.
Frasers’ adjusted pretax profit rose 13% in the first half to £304 million. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Charles Allen said that the guidance for the second half looks broadly flat after such a strong first half.
“Concern about the softer luxury market may explain the caution,” Allen wrote in a note Thursday. He said higher interest costs on adjusted net debt are another reason for prudence.
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Frasers has bought shares in a range of companies including online fast-fashion outlets Asos Plc and Boohoo Group Plc and electronics retailers Currys Plc and AO World Plc.
Frasers has also been seeking to expand in sports retail via its Sports Direct chain. Earlier this year the business tried to buy French sport retailer Go Sport out of administration but lost out to Intersport France. The company has pledged to pursue its latest acquisition, of German sports retailer SportScheck, even after the business filed for insolvency last week due to the knock-on impact of the insolvency of its parent, real estate group Signa Holding GmbH.
“We have a clear ambition to be the leading sports retailer in EMEA and we are making progress on broadening our footprint through a focused international M&A strategy,” Murray said in the earnings statement Thursday.
British consumers have been helped by shop price inflation slowing to a 17-month low. Rival retailer Next Plc, which has also bought up swathes of the British high street over the past year, raised its profit guidance last month while Marks & Spencer Group Plc reported progress in its decades-long turnaround.
Analysts at Liberum said Thursday the results showed “resilience shining through delivering meaningful sustainable growth.”
(Corrects spelling of company name in eighth paragraph.)
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