Demand for trainers and tracksuits helps JD Sports’ profits jump

Peter Cowgill chairman of JD Sports.
Peter Cowgill chairman of JD Sports.
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Retailer JD Sports Fashion posted an 82 per cent jump in first half profit as sales of trainers and tracksuits continued to surge on the UK high street.

The firm, which has most of its 690 stores in the UK but is expanding in the Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany, said adjusted pre-tax profit for the six months to August 1 grew to a record £46.6m, on revenue up 21 per cent.

Underlying sales at its core sports fashion business rose by over 10 per cent in the period, led by demand for branded trainers from the likes of Nike, the firm said, adding that trading since had also been encouraging.

Strong demand had led the group, which has a more premium position to bigger rival Sports Direct, to guide in July to full-year profit 10 per cent ahead of then market forecasts of £110m.

The firm said it had also made progress at its smaller and loss-making outdoor business Blacks in the half and that it was confident on prospects for its sports roll out across Europe.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, 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.

“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.

“Our current successful exploitation of these favourable market conditions reflects investments that we have made over a number of years in developing our multi-channel retail proposition and driving improved buying, merchandising and retailing disciplines. We continue to invest heavily in these areas.”

Shares in the company are up 120 per cent on a year ago, reaching a record high of 894.80 pence on Tuesday before closing at 893.5p, valuing the business at £1.75bn.

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