Leading sports products and fashion retailer JD Sports has today revealed that stock totalling £700,000 in value was looted during the recent riots across the UK.
Some 16 of its stores nationwide were impacted by the civil unrest as the company became one of the major retail targets for looters and criminals, but all outlets were re-opened by Sunday August 21st except for its shop in Woolwich, south London.
The statement came in the company’s half-year report, which showed that year-on-year revenues increased 14.6 per cent to £439.7 million in the 26 weeks to July 31st 2011, while group profit before tax rose by 20.6 per cent to £20.1 million.
Overall net like-for-like (LFL) sales for H1 in JD’s key markets of the UK & Ireland fell by 0.9 per cent though, as consumers were less inclined to spend compared to last year which coincided with the football World Cup.
In April the retailer predicted that 2011/12 will be a very difficult year for the industry, with cotton prices putting pressure on companies’ margins and other economic factors holding back consumer spending.
Executive Chairman of the company Peter Cowgill said at the time that the pre-tax profit increase of 28 per cent to £78.6 million in 2010 was effectively rebased purely as a result of the impact of VAT growth. With that in mind, the group said it was not surprised that underlying group profit before tax and exceptionals in 2011 H1 declined from £19.4 million to £16 million year-on-year.
Cowgill is confident in JD’s ability to perform strongly in the months ahead though and has major plans for expansion, particularly in France.
“Our continual focus on exploiting all avenues of revenue growth and margin protection has enabled us to deliver a level of profit that represents a platform for meeting expectations for the full year, although trading conditions remain tough,” he said.
“Trading since the period end has continued to improve with gross LFL sales for the core UK and Ireland retail fascias in the seven-week period to September 17th up by 3.3 per cent (+2.5 per cent Sports Fascias; +7.4 per cent Fashion Fascias).”
He added that the result of JD’s full-year performance will largely depend on sales and margin performance in the key holiday period throughout December and January.
“We continue to look for appropriate acquisition opportunities which can deliver additional sources of future earnings growth principally in overseas sports retail but also to compliment our core retail fascias,” he explained.