LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - British sportswear and fashion group Frasers on Thursday reported a 61.7% rise in first-half core earnings, driven by the strong reopening of stores after COVID lockdowns, the opening of new Flannels stores and online growth.
Formerly called Sports Direct and controlled by founder Mike Ashley, the group reported an adjusted pretax profit of 186.8 million pounds ($246.6 million) for the six months to Oct. 24, up from 115.5 million a year earlier.
Group revenue rose 23.6% to 2.34 billion pounds.
Frasers said it remained cautious on the outlook, given macroeconomic headwinds on the horizon in the form of cost increases, supply chain issues and potential squeezes on consumer spending power.
There is also still the risk that measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19 could adversely affect the outlook with restrictions returning, including lockdowns in Europe.
"Notwithstanding the above risks...we do believe the group can achieve an adjusted profit before tax of between 300 million pounds to 350 million pounds for the period ended 24 April 2022 on the proviso there are no substantial lockdowns imposed in the UK, particularly over the important Christmas period," it said.
Shares in Frasers, up 57% this year, closed Wednesday at 707 pence, valuing the business at 3.56 billion pounds.
Ashley is set to step down as chief executive in May and be succeeded by Michael Murray, his daughter's partner and Frasers' current "head of elevation".
Ashley, who owns about 66% of the group's equity, will remain on the board as an executive director.
($1 = 0.7574 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey, editing by Paul Sandle and Jason Neely)