JD Sports ups profit goal after record first-half haul

Retailer JD Sports has hailed another record set of results and upped its earnings outlook for the full year after robust sales.

'Grime' star Stormzy recently launched a new campaign with JD Sports and Adidas. Picture: Nathan Gallagher - Adidas via Getty Images

The group cheered an “exceptional first half” after it saw pre-tax profits leap a third higher to £102.7 million in the six months to 29 July.

It said full-year profits were now set to come in towards the upper end of market expectations, which are currently in the range of £268m to £290m.

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Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said strong sales across its core UK and Ireland stores underpinned the half-year profits leap, but he also hailed progress on expanding internationally.

Cowgill said: “This is another pleasing result demonstrating the strength of our highly differentiated multichannel proposition and our ability to prosper in an increasingly competitive market for athletic-inspired footwear and apparel.”

He added: “We are encouraged by the sales to date in the second half which have continued at similar levels to those in the first half.”

The group notched up a 3 per cent rise in UK and Ireland like-for-like sales, while sales rose 7 per cent across mainland Europe on a constant currency basis.

Its record first-half performance comes despite fears over trading in June after the group said it was facing margin pressure and that comparative sales would be impacted by the timing of the Muslim festival of Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.

But JD Sports confirmed in its half-year figures that its profit margin was slightly below the previous year as it has faced soaring buying costs as a result of the Brexit-hit pound.

The group continued its store expansion both in the UK and overseas in the half-year, opening 40 shops on a net basis. It said 23 of these were in mainland Europe and a similar number are expected to open in the region over the second half.