JD Sports Fashion has posted a 20.6% rise in pre-tax profits rise for the first half of its financial year despite having £700,000 stock looted when riots hit the UK high streets in August.
Riots, which took place in August, caused damage for 16 stores under the JD empire. Stock totalling £700,000 was looted, with six stores in the London area suffering very significant thefts. The young fashion giant said the damage could have been significantly worse but for the pre-emptive actions which it took to prevent looters accessing stores.
All stores impacted were reopened by August 21, however the JD store in Woolwich suffered fire damage and is yet to reopen. Chief executive Barry Bown said the damage from looting and riots would have no impact on full year profits.
For the 26 weeks to July 30 the group’s revenues grew by 14.6% to £439.8m with the period seeing benefits from new acquisitions including Spanish sports chain Sprinter, young fashion brand Fenchurch and international sports chains Champion in the Republic of Ireland.
Gross like for like sales in the UK and Ireland grew by 0.8% in the period. Fashion fascias, which include Bank, Scotts and the recently acquired Cecil Gee, outperformed sports fascias, JD, Size?, Chausport, Sprinter and Champion Sports, with like for likes growing by 5.3% for its fashion fascias and its sports fascias declining by 0.1%.
The retailer, which acquired eight Cecil Gee stores from Moss Bros in June, said it is working on a proposition which would involve re-launching the stores under a “new style” next spring.
Profit before tax increased by 20.6% to £20.1m, yet underlying group profit before tax and exceptional declined from £19.4m to £16.0m, with the drop in line with the boards expectations.
JD’s Distribution business which includes Canterbury, Topgrade, Deakins, Kooga and the recently acquired Kukri and Focus saw first half operating losses reduce to £0.5 million from £1m the year before, primarily due to an increased profit from Canterbury.
Since the end of the period trading has continued to improve with gross like for like sales for fascias in the UK and Ireland up by 3.3% in the seven weeks to September 17. Excluding the impact of VAT, the net revenues have increased in this period by 1.6%.
Bown said the result for the full year would be very dependent on Christmas and the early part of January. With regards to how Christmas would be this year Bown said: “I don’t know, it is becoming later and later each year and its a case of holding our nerve.”