High Street sports fashion retailer JD Sports has reported record half year results, including a 170% increase in pre-tax profit.
The sportswear specialists grew pre-tax profits to £16.4m in the half year to August 2, up from £6m in 2013.
Such growth was attributed to the performance of its Sports stores, and a model of offering exclusive products through them with attention to quality merchandising.
Operating profit of £34.8m emerged across the Sports division, up from £26.1m in 2013, and executive chairman Peter Cowgill said he was pleased with the brand’s expansion in Europe.
A further four French stores were opened in the period, including outlets in Paris, Marseille and Lyon.
Performance across Dutch and German stores was also said to be pleasing however a lack of suitable property in Spain was said to have hampered the firm’s expansion in there.
Throughout JD’s fashion business operating losses widened to from £6.8m to £8.2m. The firm said its Banks stores had potential going into the Autumn/Winter season, when new managing director Gwynn Mulligan will have full influence on product selection.
Growth in the firm’s outdoor business was fuelled by strong performance of its Blacks and Millets stores, acquired in 2012. Operating losses here were narrowed from £8.9m to £5.6m
Mr Cowgill said: “The Group has delivered record results for the first half with encouraging progress in the principal areas of the business, notably our UK and European Sports fascias. 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 recognises 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.”
Retail analysts had expected JD Sports to report poor figures as a result of England’s early exit from the world cup. It was assumed that sales of football strips, on which sports retailers heavily depend, would impact JD’s results.
JD Sports operates 850 stores, mainly in the UK, but also trades in mainland Europe.