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Mild weather hits outdoor sales

JD shrugs off Tiso ‘difficulties’ to report record profits

Chris TisoJD Sports unveiled record profits for the year but the acquisition of Edinburgh-based outdoor clothing firm Tiso produced mix results as mild weather hit sales of walking and camping gear.

Annual group profits before tax and the sale of Bank Fashion came in at just above £100 million (2013: £89m) for the first time, a rise of 22%.

Like for like sales for the 52 week period across all continuing group fascias, including those in Europe, increased by 12%.

However, Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, said the outdoor clothing businesses, including Tiso, Blacks and Millets, had suffered a difficult second half of the year because of milder and drier autumn and winter weather.

As a result, the whole sector resorted to heavy discounting, which has continued into the current financial year.

The pre-exceptional operating loss in outdoor fell by £3.1m to £4.9m (2014: £8.0m) and the gross margin declined to 41.3% (2014: 44.8%).

Chris Tiso (pictured) sold a controlling interest in the eponymous chain of stores to JD in November 2013 for an undisclosed sum. It extended JD’s range of brands and geographical presence.

It includes Alpine Bikes, George Fisher and Blues the ski shop. In its last year trading independently it made a £1.1m loss on a turnover of £25.4m.

Mr Cowgill, said: “Tiso, in its first full year in the group, has enabled us to enhance our relationship with several key brands and has given us significantly better geographical coverage in Scotland.

“The business, which continues to trade with independent management and systems, has suffered the same trading issues in the second half as Blacks and Millets although we remain confident about its longer term prospects.”

Sports fashion had a good year with sales up 13% and operating profits up 18% to £107m following the opening of a further 19 stores in Europe.

“We believe that our collaborative approach to working with third party brands to create a unique, premium and often exclusive offer is a major contributor to our success.”

The company booked a £6.3m loss on the sale of Bank Fashion last November.

The group is proposing a final dividend of 4.2% to 5.9p (2014: 5.6625p) payable on 3 August and bringing the total dividends to 7.05p (2014: 6.775p), an increase of 4.1%.

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