JD Sports Fashion, the sportswear group which also has a controlling stake in Scottish outdoor retailer Tiso, is sprinting towards annual profits at the higher end of forecasts after “encouraging” festive sales growth.
In a trading update, the group said it had seen positive like-for-like sales across its fashion businesses, with particular growth overseas, during the key retail period.
It said the growth had been particularly encouraging given the “backdrop of widely reported retail challenges in the group’s core UK market”.
In its brief update, which did not break down the individual businesses, JD told investors: “Given the increasing significance of our international businesses in the overall group result, and the fact that there is a differentiated timing of the post-Christmas sale period in a number of our key overseas markets, the ultimate outturn will reflect trading in these markets through the remainder of January.”
It said it was “confident” that full year pre-tax profits would be between £403 million and £433m. The preliminary results for the year ended 1 February are due to be published on 15 April.
The retail group saw its share value more than double during 2019, leading to its admission to the FTSE 100, as it shrugged off high street turmoil to continue rapid sales growth.
The company’s latest trading update comes as JD faces scrutiny from the competition watchdog over its plan to acquire Footasylum in a £90m deal.
Analysts at brokerage Shore Capital noted: “JD Sports has announced a reassuring trading update.
“The statement lacks specific trading figures but the tone of the statement is positive and we note that there is another upgrade from the company.”
Adam Vettese, an analyst at multi-asset trading platform eToro, said: “JD Sports is proof that the High Street isn’t dead – at least not yet, anyway.
“The group has taken full advantage of the increasing popularity of athleisure clothing and has been making huge strides overseas, particularly in the US.
“The tail-off in JD’s shares this morning is nothing more than investors taking profit. After all, this is a stock that has returned 110 per cent in the past year alone.
“JD has stumbled onto a winning formula and, unless fashion trends change dramatically, then it’s likely the future will be bright for the sportswear retailer in the short to medium term at the very least.”