Sports Direct International Plc, the UK's leading sporting goods retailer, has lifted its full-year earnings forecast after first-quarter results were better than expected.

The group, which operates the Sports World and Lillywhites chains as well as owning brands like Dunlop, Lonsdale and Slazenger, said revenue for the 13 weeks to 26 July rose 10% to GBP375m (US$621m).

Gross profit for the period increased 4.6% to GBP157m, up from GBP150m in the same period last year.
 
Speaking ahead of the company's annual general meeting today (9 September), chief executive Dave Forsey said: "Since the end of July, trading has continued to be ahead of last year and we are very comfortable with our expectation of reducing net debt to below GBP400m."

He said the board now expects to achieve underlying EBITDA of at least GBP150m during the financial year.

This compares with earlier forecasts of EBITDA of GBP140m for fiscal 2010.