Sports Direct Up Ahead of AGM on Positive Trading Statement

Sports Direct Up Ahead of AGM on Positive Trading Statement”

He added: "With the retailer advertising for casual workers in its Sports Direct and upmarket Flannels stores across the United Kingdom, it is clear this is no mistake, but a return to the bad old ways once the spotlight had gone away".

"We remain fully focused on our strategic goal of moving our core business towards the "Selfridges" of sport in order to further strengthen our proposition and drive long-term profitability", CEO Mike Ashley said in the statement. Sports Direct said that despite no longer being a director, Flannels founder Neil Prosser remained an integral part to Sports Direct's "premium lifestyle division".

But Mr Hellawell, a former chief constable and Government drugs tsar, said in January he would quit the role if he did not secure support from a majority of independent shareholders at Wednesday's AGM.

His comments come as pressure mounts on chairman Keith Hellawell, with a number of investors in the retailer publicly voicing their opposition to his re-election ahead of a crunch vote at today's annual general meeting.

Hermes, Royal London Asset Management and Standard Life Aberdeen said they were joining three shareholder advisory groups in taking a stand against its corporate governance standards.

Among the chief concerns of shareholders is Hellawell's inability to rein in Ashley, who has seemingly been at the forefront of Sports Direct's controversies.

Zero hours contracts were one issue Sports Direct was criticised for during the investigation into the company, and at last year's AGM Ashley pledged to offer guaranteed working hours to all staff in its stores.

Late previous year, the Financial Reporting Council began investigating Sports Direct over its relationship with a business owned by Ashley's brother. Ashley owns a 55% stake in Sports Direct which, ultimately, gives him control when it comes to shareholder votes.

Ashley has said it would not attend today's AGM, and also cancelled this year's open day.

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