JD Sports posts surge in first half profits
JD Sports has posted a record result for its first half with pre-tax profit before exceptional items coming in at £439.5 million compared to £61.9 million in 2019 and £158.6 million two years ago.
The sportswear retailer saw a significant contribution from the US where aggregate pre-tax profit before exceptional items rose to £245 million from £73.4 million in the same period last year. This included a £72.9 million contribution from its recently acquired Shoe Palace and DTLR businesses.
JD’s core business in the UK and Republic of Ireland also performed well with pre-tax profit before exceptional items rising to £170.8 million from £52 million in 2020 and £114.9 million in 2019. The company said it benefited from strong retention of sales through digital channels whilst its stores were temporarily closed during the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as from pent-up demand when shops re-opened.
Meanwhile. sales in the first half climbed to over £3.8 billion from £2.5 billion at the same time last year.
Peter Cowgill, JD Sports executive chairman, said: “The group continues to demonstrate outstanding resilience in the face of numerous challenges arising from the continued prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic in many countries, widespread strain on international logistics and other supply chain challenges, materially lower levels of footfall into stores in many countries after reopening and the ongoing administrative and cost consequences resulting from the loss of tariff free, frictionless trade with the European Union. Given these challenges, the record result that the group has delivered in the first half with a profit before tax and exceptional items of £439.5 million is extremely encouraging.”
JD continued to expand internationally in the period, although the pace of new store openings was impacted by ongoing restrictions on construction and fit out works in certain markets. The company launched 21 new stores across Western Europe and six in Asia and now has 66 stores trading in the US.
Cowgill said the company has been encouraged by its performance in the first few weeks of its second half, despite retail footfall remaining comparatively weak in many countries.
He added: “Assuming a prudent but realistic set of assumptions for the peak trading period ahead which take into account the absence of stimulus in the United States for the second half of the year, in addition to current industry-wide supply chain challenges, we presently anticipate delivering a headline profit before tax for the full year of at least £750 million.”
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