Sunday 22 July 2018

JD Sports ups profit forecast for second time since September

The sportswear chain said like-for-like sales rose 3% across its stores in its second half to date, including crucial Christmas trading.

JD Sports has upped its profit outlook for the second time in four months after strong second-half trading, including Christmas (Nick Ansell/PA)
JD Sports has upped its profit outlook for the second time in four months after strong second-half trading, including Christmas (Nick Ansell/PA)

By Holly Williams, Press Association Deputy City Editor

Retailer JD Sports has hiked its full-year profit outlook for the second time in four months as it bucked woes among high street clothing rivals.

The sportswear chain said like-for-like sales rose 3% across its stores in its second half to date, including crucial Christmas trading, building further on its strong performance a year earlier.

Shares jumped 7% higher as JD Sports said it now expects profits to hit around £300 million for the year to February 3, up from £238 million the previous year.

It comes after the group had already upped its profit outlook in September after an “exceptional” first half to July 29, which saw the City hike expectations to between £270 million and £295 million.

JD Sports, which also owns fashion and outdoor retail outlets such as Scotts and Blacks, has shrugged off tougher trading seen by many other clothing retailers, with Debenhams and Marks & Spencer among those hit by more difficult trading since last autumn.

JD Sports said its sales growth in the second half so far was “particularly encouraging”, given the challenging comparatives in each of the last three years.

The chain saw like-for-like sales soar by around 10% in the comparative second half a year earlier.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: “I am delighted to report that we have maintained our positive performance from the first half of the year, which continues to demonstrate the capability and strength of our highly differentiated multi-channel proposition.”

The group added that online and international sales added to the 3% rise seen in its stores, which was in line with the first half.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The festive season was a test of mettle for retailers, and one which has highlighted the gulf between the strong and weak players in the sector.”

He added: “Performance was no means as stellar as it has been in recent times, but then conditions are tough on the high street right now, thanks to the financial pressure on the UK consumer.”

JD Sports may also have been helped amid the December cold snap by its recent purchase of Go Outdoors, according to Mr Khalaf.

Press Association

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