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By
Reuters
Published
Sep 17, 2014
Reading time
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JD Sports lifts full-year outlook after record first half

By
Reuters
Published
Sep 17, 2014

LONDON, United Kingdom - British retailer JD Sports Fashion expects to post full-year results towards the upper end of market expectations after strong demand at its core sports division helped it to achieve record first-half trading.

Shares in the firm, which has the majority of its 850 stores in Britain but also trades in the Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany, rose 4.7 percent on Wednesday after the positive update.


JD Sports said its profit before tax and exceptional items doubled to 20 million pounds in the 26 weeks to Aug. 2, which it described as a record performance, on revenue up 27 percent to 721.5 million pounds.

It will pay an interim dividend of 1.15 pence, up 3.4 percent.

The firm said comparisons with the previous year are tougher in the second half than they had been in the first half and noted the full-year outcome will, as ever, be significantly dependent on Christmas trading.

Prior to Wednesday's update analysts were on average forecasting an underlying pretax profit for 2014-15 of about 83 million pounds, according to Reuters data, up from 77 million pounds in 2013-14.

Shares in JD Sports, up 66 percent over the last year, were up 19 pence at 426 pence at 0718 GMT, valuing the business at 832 million pounds.

First-half sales at stores open over a year in the group's core European sports division, which sells trainers and hoodies, rose 13 percent.

Like-for-like sales at its Blacks and Millets outdoor retail chains, bought from administrators for 20 million pounds over two years ago, increased 12 percent. The division broke even for the first time in the second half of 2013-14 after improvements to stores, operations and management.

But the group said its loss-making Banks and Scotts fashion division, where management has been overhauled, continued to disappoint, though trading did improve in the second quarter.

In May the firm announced that its Chief Executive Barry Bown had stepped down from the board after 30 years with the company and would not be replaced.

The group's growth strategy has long been led by Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill, who also takes a key role in the day-to-day running of the company.
 

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