JD Sports sprints higher as athleisure craze helps to drive record profits

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

JD Sports Fashion PLC on Tuesday reported higher profit in 2018 financial year as a result of good growth in Sports Fashion and Go Outdoors's first ever annual contribution. The impressive figures also demonstrate that Brits continue to love their leisurewear, or athleisure clothing, as the company calls it.

Chairman Peter Cowgill said the retailer is "developing a multichannel infrastructure which provides consumers in multiple territories with access to a universal stock pool and enables them to shop with us in the channel and at the time of their choice".

JD Sports, which alongside its core sports retail business runs fashion and outdoor retail outlets such as Scotts and Blacks, said profit before tax and exceptional items rose to £307.4 million (€355.6 million) in the 53 weeks to February 3rd.

Revenue rose 33% to £3.16 billion and the company opened another nine stores in the Asia Pacific region in the year, it said. "The board remains confident in the robustness and worldwide potential of the JD proposition and is excited by the major developments ahead".

The core UK & Ireland sports fashion stores remain the foundation of JD Sports' success, although the retailer also reports an encouraging performance from its Outdoor division. Earnings before tax for the whole outdoors division, including the brand, were £23m, up from £7m past year.

'This is an excellent result demonstrating our capacity for continuing growth in both existing and new markets, and the strength of our offer in store and online, ' enthuses Cowgill.

JD Sports said its global expansion continued apace in the past year, with 56 stores opened on mainland Europe on a net basis.

"Much to the dismay of rival Sports Direct's chief executive Mike Ashley, JD Sports is now making firm tracks to become the UK's leading sportswear retailer", she adds.

It has also recently announced its U.S. market debut after agreeing to buy up American sportswear company Finish Line for 558 million United States dollars (£388 million) in what it has branded a "transformational" deal.

Theoretically the acquisition could increase JD's strategic importance to major worldwide brand partners including Nike and Adidas. We reiterate our buy rating'.