The firm, which also owns Blacks and Millets and has a controlling stake in Scots outdoor business Tiso, said underlying pre-tax profits leapt 83 per cent to a better-than-forecast £46.6 million in the 26 weeks to 1 August, driven by 10 per cent like-for-like sales growth at its sports shops for the second year in a row.
Analysts had expected interim profits of around £35m, after the FTSE 250 group said in July that its full-year pre-tax profit this year would be about 10 per cent ahead of City forecasts of around £110m.
The group, which runs more than 800 stores across the UK and Europe, said its sports shops performed strongly in an extremely competitive market.
It added that like a number of retailers, its earnings would be impacted by the introduction of the living wage next year, but did not provide a more detailed update. This means the minimum wage will be set at £7.20 an hour for over-25s from April, forecast to rise to £9.35 by 2020.