Good morning!

"Mad Mike" Ashley, the 59.3% owner of Sports Direct (LON:SPD) - in which I hold a long position - put on a great show yesterday, in front of MPs. It even made the top slot in the main evening TV news.

Overall, I reckon he handled it quite well - in particular admitting mistakes, and agreeing that certain details of how warehouse staff were treated were unfair. Owning up to mistakes, and putting them right, is always the right approach in life generally. It's also pretty effective at neutralising criticism.

So whilst he comes across as an extremely forceful character (which some might characterise as a bully), and clearly has an ego the size of a small planet, he's also a talented retailer. SPD is a fundamentally very sound business, which generates pots of cash, and is likely to continue to do so. Maybe he'll take it private at some point?

Although JD Sports Fashion (LON:JD.) is clearly eating Sports Direct's lunch on the sale of expensive, branded trainers, SPD remains dominant in low to middle-priced sports clothing. To my mind, all the stuff about Mike Ashley is largely background noise. I don't see it having much impact on the fundamental value of the business, other than tarnishing the brand name a bit in the short term. Consumers have very short memories, and quickly forget issues like this.

That leaves a very good business, with some fixable issues, on a relatively modest valuation. So I continue to like, and hold, SPD shares.


EDIT: My apologies, but due to a technical glitch, a lot of my section on BOO has vanished. I'll try to get it back from backup.

Boohoo.Com (LON:BOO)

Share price: 56.1p
No. shares: 1,123.3m
Market cap: £630.2m

(At the time of writing, I hold a long position in this share)

Q1 trading update - covering the 3 months to 31 May 2016. This is a strong update, with excellent (all organic) growth in all regions. Here are the highlights, highlighted:

(picture removed, as seemed to corrupt article)

Forex - is expected to become helpful as the year progresses, helping margins, but it sounds as if this benefit will be recycled into lower prices for customers.

Cost efficiencies - longer term, there is scope to improve the net margin, by automating the warehouse. It sounds as if, right now, the…

Unlock the rest of this Article in 15 seconds

or Unlock with your email

Already have an account?
Login here