JD Sports upbeat after profits double

Sportswear and fashion retailer JD Sports today revealed a doubling in profits for the first half and said its annual results would come in at the upper end of City hopes.

The group, which owns outdoor goods chains Blacks and Millets, posted a pre-tax profit before one-off items of £20 million for the six months to 2 August, up from £10m a year earlier, on revenues 27 per cent higher at £721.5m.

However, executive chairman Peter Cowgill said the firm’s fashion chains, particularly Bank, “continues to disappoint” although trading improved in the second quarter and the final six months tend to be stronger for this part of the business.

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He added: “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.”

Cowgill said that, following the “robust” first-half performance, JD was “well positioned to deliver results towards the upper end of current market expectations”.

The interim dividend, to be paid on 9 January, was lifted 3.4 per cent to 1.15p a share.