JD Sports Fashion tipped to 30% profit increase

Peter Cowgill: firm should make 'considerable progress' this year. Picture: Contributed
Peter Cowgill: firm should make 'considerable progress' this year. Picture: Contributed
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RETAIL group JD Sports Fashion is expected to unveil a sharp rise in profits this week as it continues to attract teenagers and twentysomethings seeking designer trainers and tracksuits.

The firm cheered the City with its post-Christmas update in January, citing a strong performance for its stores over Christmas. Pre-tax profits are tipped to have risen by about 30 per cent to £71 million.

The Bury-based group, which has more than 800 outlets in four countries and last year bought a controlling interest in Scottish outdoor clothing stalwart Tiso, revealed this year that like-for-like sales at its core business in the 48 weeks to 4 January were marginally better than the 5.8 per cent reported in November.

It hailed stronger Christmas sales for its sports stores and said margins were largely protected despite widespread discounting on the high street.

The group also includes other brands it has been trying to improve – outdoor stores under the Blacks and Millets fascias and the fashion chains Bank and Scotts.

JD chairman Peter Cowgill has said he expects “considerable progress” this year as the company looks to continue the turnaround of its outdoor stores and improve the performance of the fashion stores.

In the first half of the financial year, Millets dragged on the group’s soaring profits, following its decision not to scrap the chain.

JD had planned to merge the business with Blacks after it bought both brands out of administration but changed its mind and decided to keep Millets going, saving a number of branches.

Chris Tiso sold a controlling stake in his eponymous Edinburgh-based chain of stores to the group last November for an undisclosed sum.

JD said the deal would allow Tiso to grow and develop its business, which includes Alpine Bikes, George Fisher and Blues the ski shop. Tiso became part of JD’s outdoor division alongside Blacks and Millets.

Cowgill took over as chairman at Tiso while Chris Tiso continued as chief executive, a role he assumed in 1992 following the death of his father Graham. At the time, the business comprised a single brand and five shops and had £4m of revenue.

Chris Tiso told Scotland on Sunday’s sister title The Scotsman at the time: “We carry on as we are now, except it will help to be part of a bigger group. I have been asked if the product will change, if the quality of service will change and if the name will change. The answer is no, no and no.”