Retailer in good shape

JD Sports defies retail woes with 15% uplift in profit

Tiso Glasgow

Tiso is part of the JD Group

JD Sports continued to defy the troubles inflicting the wider retail sector with a 15.4% rise in pre-tax profit to £333.9 million during a year when it increased its portfolio of stores.

The leisurewear company, which owns Tiso, Blacks, Millets and Go Outdoors, announced a record EBITDA (before exceptional items) 26.8% higher at £488.4m (2018: £385.2m).

Shares in the company closed at record highs last night in anticipation of today’s figures. Globally, the company has opened a net 83 JD stores with 78 of these stores in international markets.

Outdoor clothing was hit by the mild winter but total like for like sales, including online, remained marginally positive.

The company has tabled a bid for Footasylum and On 4 April acquired the business and certain assets of former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher’s boutique menswear chain Pretty Green chain from the administrator. The acquisition included the business, brand and website as well as a flagship store in Manchester. Cash consideration of £1.5m was paid on completion with the group also assuming a further £1.8m of debt.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, said: “We firmly believe that the elevated and dynamic multibrand multichannel proposition of the core JD fascia, which enjoys the ongoing support of the key international brands, has the necessary agility to continue to exceed consumer expectations and prosper in an increasing number of international markets.

“We believe that our acquisition of the Finish Line business in the United States, the largest market for sport lifestyle footwear and apparel and the home to many of the global sportswear brands, will have positive consequences for our long-term brand engagement whilst significantly extending the group’s global reach. We maintain our belief that Finish Line is capable of delivering improved levels of profitability. 

“Given the significance of Easter trading to the overall result of the Group and the change in the timing relative to last year, any announcement of like for like sales performance in the year to date would lack precision. However, we are pleased with the continued underlying positive performance of the group and are excited by the major developments ahead.”

Jane Sydenham, investment director at Rathbones, said: “They’re really focusing on their brands and making sure they have a tight focus on their products and really responding to what their customers actually want.

“So they’re not just trying to have as broad a range of products as possible at the cheapest price. They’re really focused on their customers and it really seems to be working.”


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