JD Sports Fashion hopes to see the “first green shoots” of recovery for its young fashion chain Bank by spring 14 as fashion sales continue to struggle despite the overall group doubling profits in its first half.
Pre-tax profits rose 111% to £6.1m in the 26 weeks to August 3, with JD’s sportswear arm performing “phenomenally well”. Revenues rose 2% to £567.4m.
However, JD reported a 2.2% dip in like-for-likes across its fashion fascias, which it said were affected by reorganisation during the period.
JD chief executive Barry Bown told Drapers: “Fashion has gone through a consolidation period – while it’s busy settling itself out over who acquired who, for brands in the marketplace it’s much more difficult.”
Bown said Bank needed a “fresh perspective”, which was why it drafted in former Reiss trading director Gwynn Milligan in July.
“It will be six to nine months before we see any fruits of the labour,” he added. “We will bring in some slightly more well-known brands but also focus on new brands. The footwear offer also needs to be improved.”
Since the end of the period group like-for-likes have risen, growing 2.8% in the five weeks to September 7, with continued “robust trading” from its sports stores. However, Bown said its fashion arm was “still finding it difficult”.