Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group warns over profits due to coronavirus

Mike Ashley’s retail empire Frasers Group has become the latest high street firm to warn that the coronavirus outbreak will hit profits.

The company, which owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, said it was “too early” to quantify the full extent of the impact of the virus.

However, it said it will cause “significant disruption” to its business as Government guidance has driven declining footfall for high street retailers.

It said it now believes it will fall short of its guidance of earnings before tax and interest growth of between 5% and 15% for the year ending April 2020.

Frasers Group
Mike Ashley renamed his retail business Frasers Group last year (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

In a brief statement to investors, it added that the group’s trading performance in the year-to-date was “in line with expectations” prior to the pandemic.

The company said: “The company has a strong management team which can adapt and respond quickly to challenges and changing market conditions.

“Over the longer term, the board remains confident in focusing on the company’s elevation strategy.”

Mike Ashley renamed the company from Sports Direct International at the end of last year in a bid to improve its image.

On Friday, rival retailer Marks & Spencer froze all pay rises and suspended all spending not seen as absolutely essential as it warned that its clothing and home lines would take a severe hit.

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