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Sports fashion sales help JD score 18% profit rise

JD Sports Fashion’s pre-tax profits rose 18% to £90.5m in the year to January 31, excluding any losses made by young fashion retailer Bank, which it disposed of in November.

Revenues were up 25% to £1.5bn, with like-for-like sales up 12%. Profit before tax and exceptional items reached a record £100m, up 22% on the year before. Gross margin was broadly flat at 48.6%.

In its sports fashion division, which includes JD, footwear retailer Size? and premium menswear retailer Tessuti, like-for-like store sales were up 13% across Europe.

The company said there had been “encouraging progress” in its international business, with 19 JD and Size? stores opened, taking its total to 70. A JD store will open on Oxford Street later this year.

Bank, which was separated out in the results as a “discontinued activity”, made a loss of £15.8m during the year to January 31, compared with £16.4m the year before. The pre-tax exceptional loss arising from the disposal of Bank was £6.3m.

JD Sports Fashion also pulled the plug on its own label menswear fascia Open, which has 11 stores, in January, but this was not mentioned in the trading update.

The outdoor division, which includes Blacks and Millets, suffered a difficult second half following the mild autumn and winter. It made an operating loss before exceptional items of £4.9m, although this has narrowed from £8m in 2014.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “I am delighted to report that our continuing operations have delivered a record result for the year with a headline profit before tax and exceptional items in excess of £100m for the first time.

“This result has been driven by an outstanding performance in our sports fashion fascias. It provides a robust platform for further profitable growth, at home and internationally.”

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