JD Sports profits soar

JD Sports posted a record profit for the first half of the year and improved its full year guidance. The British sports-fashion retail company said its pre-tax profit doubled to ₤19.99 million while revenue surged 27% to ₤721.5 million during the six-month period ending August 2.

In the sports division, which sells sportswear and trainers, first-half sales at shops open for at least one year increased by 13% compared to the same period the year before.

At Blacks and Millets outdoor retail chains like-for-like sales rose 12%.

Gross group margin fell from 48.8% to 47.6% due to greater participation of lower-margin online sales, plus increased provisions made in fashion against slow moving stocks.

The Manchester-based company says it now expects full-year profit performance to be at the upper end of expectations.

Core areas, encouraging progress

Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman, said JD Sports Fashion Plc delivered record results with promising progress in the core areas of the business, notably its UK and European Sports fascias.

Mr. Cowgill added:

“I am also pleased with the positive progress in our Outdoor business, particularly since the move to our central facilities was only completed in July last year. Fashion continues to disappoint, albeit trading more positively in the second quarter. The second half of the year is traditionally stronger for the Fashion fascias. Our Sports operations continue to provide the engine for profit growth and cash generation in the Group and will therefore continue to be the primary focus of investment.”

“The Board recognizes the demanding comparatives of the second half of the last financial year, particularly in the core UK and Ireland Sports fascias where like for like sales increased by 11.2%, as well as our significant dependence on Christmas trading but following the robust performance of the business in the first half believes that the Group is well positioned to deliver results towards the upper end of current market expectations.”

JD Sports Interim Results

(Data source: JD Sports)

New menswear chain

JD Sports has launched Open, a new menswear chain – it will unveil 10 shops by Christmas. It has just opened in Hanley, Leeds and Stevenage, and is due to open in Glasgow, Manchester, Leicester, Northampton and Bury this month. It may also open stores in Birmingham, Gateshead, Bristol and Norwich by the end of 2014.

The retailer has also focused on expanding abroad, and recently acquired several stores in Germany and the Netherlands, while adding to its offering in Spain and France.

The interim dividend, which will be paid in January, was increased by 3.4% to 1.15p per share.