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JD profits double as fashion sales continue to fall

Pre-tax profits at JD Sports Fashion more than doubled in the first half of the year fuelled by soaring sports sales, however its fashion arm continued to struggle.

In the 26 weeks to August 3 pre-tax profits rose 111% to £6.1m as revenues grew by 2% to £567.4m. The group reported a “record” performance in its core sports fascias with strong sales and margin performance, with operating profit (before exceptional items) up 55%.

Like-for-like sales across the group rose 5.8% as revenues for JD’s sports fascias rose 7.5%, however the average performance for the group was pulled back by the fashion arm, where like-for-likes dropped 2.2%.

In its management statement JD said one of the highlights during the year was the appointment of young fashion chain Bank’s managing director Gwynn Milligan “to accelerate repositioning of the fascia”. The former Reiss trading director joined Bank in July.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “The performance of both the fashion and outdoor fascias has been impacted by significant continued reorganisation activity in the period. Whilst these reorganisations have had a short term negative impact on the overall group results, we strongly believe that the decisive actions which we have taken were necessary for these businesses to deliver returns in the longer term.”

He added: “Given the continued robust performance in our core Sports fascias, the Board believes that the Group is well positioned to deliver results that are within the range of current expectations.”

JD said since the end of the period sales have continued to rise with like-for-like sales across its sport and fashion fascias growing 2.8% in the five weeks to September 7, with continued “robust trading” from its sports stores.

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