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Flannels now wholly owned by Sports Direct

06 September 2017

The company reiterated its outlook, with an aim of growth in underlying operating earnings in the region of 5% to 15% during full year 2018 and said that it continues to strive to become the "Selfridges of sport" referring to the high-end department store. It expects the acquisition to significantly enhance earnings of its premium luxury division in the medium to long-term.

Sports Direct's under-fire chairman, Keith Hellawell, has defended the retailer's decision not to shift temporary staff off zero-hours contracts, saying a "very large proportion" of the workforce wanted flexibility.

In September a year ago, Hellawell offered to step down from his role "in light of the shortcomings" highlighted in the company's working practices report released that month.

The report was initiated following undercover investigations by the Guardian newspaper and the BBC which had compared conditions at the warehouse to those seen in the Victorian era.

His comments came ahead of the result from a vote by independent shareholders on whether to reappoint Hellawell, who said at last year's AGM that he would step down if did receive unanimous support from investors.

Independent shareholders were, however, assured at that time that Hellawell would step down at the company's 2017 AGM if he was unable to win back their confidence.

Mr Hellawell survived a revolt by independent shareholders in January.

Just over a dozen investors were understood to have attended the gathering in person to be greeted by a Unite union-organised demonstration over working practices and its continued use of zero-hours contracts for casual staff despite pledging to abolish them.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Ashely had upped its stake in Flannels from 51 per cent to more than 75 per cent via a Sports Direct subsidiary.

Flannels now wholly owned by Sports Direct