LONDON, Sept 7 Britain's Sports Direct
said on Wednesday it had rejected an offer by its chairman to
step down over failings in its working practices, hours before
investors are expected to register their anger at him at a
The sportswear retailer said Keith Hellawell had been asked
by the board, which includes the company's founder and majority
shareholder, Mike Ashley, to continue in his role as chairman.
"Hellawell had offered to step down over the weekend in the
light of the shortcomings highlighted in (a Working Practices)
report, but he will stay in his role in order to assist with
making further improvements," Sports Direct said.
Hellawell faces a rough ride from investors at Sports
Direct's annual shareholder meeting later Wednesday. A number of
investors, including Legal & General, have said they will oppose
Ahead of the meeting Sports Direct said Ashley has confirmed
to the board that it remains the case that he has no current
intention to take the company private.
It also updated on its outlook, forecasting underlying
earnings for its full year 2017 of about 300 million pounds
($402 million), broadly in line with market forecasts.
The group, which had previously failed to give a profit
outlook for the year, made core earnings of 381.4 million pounds
in its 2015-16 year
It said the forecast was, however, subject to group sales
growth of at least 9 percent, a group gross margin decline of no
worse than 275 basis points and an increase in operating costs
of no worse than 8 percent.
The firm reiterated that it remained unhedged on the U.S
dollar/pound sterling for 2017 with the policy under review.
($1 = 0.7455 pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)