Sports Direct store Oxford StImage copyright
Reuters

The owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser says it is seeing “a semblance of normality” returning, but warned that further lockdowns remain a threat.

Frasers Group said annual pre-tax profits sank 20% to £143.5m as lockdown store closures led to “the most challenging year” in its history.

Publication of the results was delayed from last week while the group finalised the figures.

The firm also repeated a “frustration” over problems at Debenhams.

Frasers’ boss Mike Ashley, whose other brands include Evan Cycles and Jack Wills, has previously expressed interest in taking control of Debenhams, which is in administration again.

The company said in its statement on Thursday: “We continued to follow the further demise of Debenhams during the year with much frustration and disappointment as it entered administration for a second time.

“We raised our concerns and gave numerous warnings about what we were seeing there, much of which has materialised. Our offers of help were repeatedly disregarded and it is scandalous that this business has now been in administration twice.”



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