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JD pledges to remedy falling fashion sales 

JD Sports Fashion got “too much wrong” with its summer product offer, resulting in a 2.4% fall in like-for-like sales in the sports retailer’s fashion division over the six weeks to September 12.

JD Sports Fashion chief executive Barry Bown told Drapers that sales and margins in the fashion division,  which includes the Bank and Scotts chains, had been impacted after the retailer was forced to discount to clear stock.

The drop in sales followed a strong performance from the division over the 26 weeks to August 1 when like-for-likes rose 3.1%.

Bown would not be drawn on what the specific product issues were but said the business was committed to improving its proposition.

“The fashion market is tough,” said Bown. “We didn’t get some of the elements right and as a result needed to discount, which resulted in margin deterioration. Clearly we guys have got to fix that. There was too much wrong and when you are a 100-store multiple, that adds up.”

Bown added that discounting by high street rivals had forced the retailer to price match on certain items over the six-week period.

JD Sports Fashion reported a 14.5% increase in first half group pre-tax profits to £14.2m. Total group sales jumped 8.4% to £324m, while like-for-likes edged up 0.7%. The like-for-like growth was made up of a 0.3% rise at the sports business – comprising JD, Size? and Chausport – and the 3.1% increase at the fashion division.

Within the fashion division, comparable sales at Bank were up 2.5% and Scotts’ were up 4.2%.

Group like-for-likes in the six weeks to September 12 grew 0.8%.

Bown added that the retailer may wholesale its Sergio Tacchini and Duffer of St George brands in the long term.

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