Sports Direct SPD has not had a good year. It openly admits that the year to 24th April was disappointing, so disappointing in fact that it failed to reach the targets for the share based incentive scheme for eligible staff which is part of the company’s “high performance and reward culture”. So what are they going to do about it. No problem, easy – they are going to change the incentive scheme by making it easier to reward staff who haven’t produced the necessary results. Of course it wasn’t really the staff’s fault that targets weren’t met this year, it was because of tough trading conditions in the second half and tough trading conditions are as we all know completely outside the control of any company.
Preliminary results show group revenue rose by 2.5% but underlying profit before tax was down by 8.4% and earnings per share by 8.7%.
Marks & Spencer MKS had a fairly disastrous third quarter except in food where sales rose by 4% and strongly outperformed the market but even there, on a like for like basis they fell by 0.9%. Clothing and home sales fell by a whopping 8.3% but that was part of a deliberate policy to increase sales eventually. When “eventually” will arrive is not specified. Overall UK sales for the quarter to 2nd July fell by 1.1%. From my visit to M&S yesterday, any company which thinks it can get away with charging 24.99 Euro for a 3 pack of underpants, is living in cloud cuckoo land, especially when you have to queue for the privilege of paying for them.