Sports Direct , Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer, posted a 2 percent rise in first-half profit and said it was on track to meet its target for the year.

The firm, controlled by Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, said on Thursday it was confident of reaching its full year target for underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and before costs for a staff bonus scheme, of 215 million pounds.

We believe our Employee Bonus Share Schemes continues to underpin our performance, said Chief Executive Dave Forsey.

Sports Direct made underlying EBITDA before staff bonus scheme costs of 139.2 million pounds in the 26 weeks to October 23, up from 136.5 million pounds in the same period last year.

The firm, which owns Sports World and Lillywhites stores as well as brands including Slazenger, Lonsdale and Dunlop, said revenue rose 8.4 percent to 888.6 million pounds.

This strong performance yet again demonstrates the success of our unique and resilient business model, and was delivered against both a tough FIFA World Cup comparison last year and an especially fragile consumer environment, said Forsey.

The firm cut its net debt by 23.3 percent to 114.3 million pounds but is not paying a dividend.

Sports Direct is looking for a boost to trade in 2012 from the Euro soccer championships and London Olympics.

Shares in the firm, which have increased by 37 percent over the last year, closed Wednesday at 199.5 pence, valuing the business at 1.15 billion pounds.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Paul Sandle)