JD Sports sales increase despite tough conditions on high street

JD Sports has posted robust sales growth despite the well-publicised tough conditions on the high street.

The sports apparel retailer’s sales increased 15% in the 48 weeks to January 5, while like-for-like sales rose 5%, including a positive performance from the much-hyped Black Friday discount event.

The company said its gross profit margins were maintained as it did not enter into “short-term reactive discounting unnecessarily” during the period.

Retailers have been battling a number of headwinds, including low consumer confidence, high costs and changing shopping habits, with more consumers buying more online.

Firms such as Toys R Us, Maplin and HMV entered into administration, while others have sought rescue deals and shut stores.

JD sports said it was pleased with the its trading performance despite the “challenges within the wider UK retail market” and it reflected its diverse offering both in stores and online as well as its international presence.

Last year the company bought US retailer Finish Line and recently opened its first five JD stores in the region, but the company cautioned that it is “too early to draw any conclusions” from its performance in the US so far, although it is encouraged by recent developments.

JD Sports said the transition to the enlarged site at its Kingsway warehouse near Rochdale caused some labour cost inefficiencies, but it remains confident that pre-tax profit for the fiscal year ended February 2 will be at the upper end of market expectations, which currently range from £325 million to £352 million.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said “I am pleased with the continued progress of the group both in terms of our performance in existing markets and the recent positive developments in the United States.

“We are confident that domestically and internationally, in stores and online, our unique and often exclusive sports fashion premium brand offer provides a solid foundation for future development.”