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Sports Direct profits plunge by more than a third

Profits at beleaguered retailer Sports Direct have plummeted by more than a third in the first half of the year, the company has said.

Founder Mike Ashley outside Sports Direct, which has suffered from plummeting profits Credit: PA

Figures from Mike Ashley's 450-store sportswear chain show a drop of 33.5 per cent, down to £145.3 million, following the collapse in the value of the pound.

It comes after controversy over the firm's use of zero-hour contracts and "Victorian" working practices.

In a statement, Mr Ashley blamed "strategic challenges and currency headwinds".

The last six months have been tough for our people and performance. Our UK Sports Retail business continues to be the engine of Sports Direct, but our results have been affected by the significant deterioration in exchange rates, and our assessment of our risk relating to our stock levels and European stores performance.

– Mike Ashley, Sports Direct

The company said overall revenue rose by 4.2 per cent to £1.6 billion, but warned of a challenging environment which it expects to continue into the "foreseeable future". On a pre-tax basis, profits slumped 57 per cent to £71.6m.

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Remains of 47 victims plane crash sent to Islamabad

Credit: PA

The remains of the 47 passengers and crew who were killed when a Pakistan International Airlines commuter crashed are being sent to Islamabad for identification.

A spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, confirmed that 42 passengers and five crew members were killed in the crash. Earlier, PIA had put the total at 48.

Junaid Sarwar, a hospital spokesman in the northwestern city of Abbottabad, said only five bodies had been identified as the remains of others were burned so badly that the National Database and Registration Authority could not identify them.

"We are sending body parts of all the passengers to Islamabad for DNA tests," he said.

Wednesday's crash happened 45 miles northwest of the capital Islamabad. The small twin-propeller aircraft was travelling from the city of Chitral to Islamabad when it crashed shortly after takeoff due to an engine fault.

PIA says the plane lost contact with the control tower prior to the crash.

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