UK sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International has posted a double-digit sales rise in the third quarter, saying performance remained strong even after Christmas.

Group total sales for the 13 weeks ending 23 January 2011 were up 12.1% to GBP416m (US$674), while gross profit increased 8.4% to GBP167m.

Retail sales in the 13 week period increased 13.8%, while its brands division revenue increased by 2.2% to GBP46m.
During the period Sports Direct opened five core and three temporary stores and closed one core, two temporary and four non-core stores, it said. The company converted three stores in Portugal, following a recent acquisition, and opened one new store in Slovenia.

Dave Forsey, chief executive of Sports Direct International, said: "Since the end of January, the group's underlying performance has continued to be strong, especially within the UK retail division. Therefore we shall reach our full year targeted underlying EBITDA of GBP205m (before the charge for the bonus share scheme). During the remaining quarter and dependent on trading we will continually review further opportunities to invest in margin and or extra group marketing."