JD Sports celebrates record profits rise

JD Sports’s first-half profits rose more than 80 per cent to a record ££46.6m, as sales of trainers and other sports items boomed on UK high streets, reports The Guardian.

In the six months to 1 August, pre-tax profit before exceptional items jumped 82 per cent, from £25.5m a year earlier, as revenue surged 21 per cent to £809.9m. Statutory pre-tax profit rose 88 per cent.

Sales at stores open a year or more increased by more than 10 per cent, as shoppers bought trainers made by Nike and other leading brands. It said trading in August and September had been encouraging, suggesting JD was not badly affected by weak clothing sales on British high streets over the summer.

JD shares have more than doubled in price in the past year. They rose 1.7 per cent to a record 917p after the results announcement.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “Our principal sports fashion fascias continue to perform strongly with like-for-like sales growth in excess of 10 per cent which, when measured against particularly strong and challenging comparatives, is a very pleasing performance.

“Given the demanding comparatives following two years of strong revenue growth, we are encouraged by the positive nature of the trading to date in the second half.”

JD has been one of British retailing’s success stories, defying gloomy patches in the wider market, such as last Christmas, by capitalising on sporting fashionwear. It has carved out an upmarket niche by selling the latest items from in-demand brands such as Adidas as well as its own lines including Duffer of St George.

Most of JD’s 690 stores are in the UK but it is expanding in the Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany in a bid to become Europe’s top sports fashion retailer. Cowgill said he was confident about JD’s expansion plans but that growth was likely to slow and profit margins would be affected by the weak euro.

“In an extremely competitive market for sports fashion footwear across Europe, we must acknowledge that the levels of organic growth that we have seen over the last two years are unlikely to continue indefinitely, albeit the JD brand continues to strengthen and further opportunities prevail,” he said.

JD said it was making progress in turning around its loss-making outdoor business, which trades under the Millets, Blacks and Ultimate Outdoors brands. The division’s loss narrowed to £4.5m from £5.6m a year earlier.