Sporting goods and clothing retailer JD Sports Fashion has today reported a 26.4 per cent sales rise in its first half though operating profit before exceptional items plummeted 80.3 per cent as a result of its acquisition of outdoor equipment retailer Blacks.
Reporting an initial loss of £10 million, the retailer noted that the “vast majority of the loss was incurred in the first three months”, and said that Blacks is now stabilising with stores fully restocked.
Group profit-before-tax fell by £17.2 million to £2.9 million in the 26 weeks to July 28th 2012, though sports fascias in the UK & Ireland saw sales rise 15 per cent during the period to £371.2 million while like-for-like (LFL) sales were up 1.2 per cent, in a “robust performance in the currently exceptionally difficult retail environment,” according to Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill.
Last month, the retailer announced its decision to dispose of its Canterbury rugby brand to Pentland for £22.7 million and acquire the One True Saxon Brand for £50,000 following poor full year results from the former brand.
As the summer of sport boosted consumer interest, sales across JD’s sports fascias rose 3.2 per cent in the six weeks to September 8th 2012 as the retailer opened 11 new stores over the first half, including a store at St Pancras station which allowed the company to capitalise on increased footfall over the Olympic Games.
Across its overseas operations, JD opened four stores in France and three in Spain as it continues its European expansion, while total sales across its fashion fascias including Bank and Cecil Gee increased by 10.2 per cent to £65.6 million, though declined in LFL terms from the position announced last quarter.
Commenting on the results, Cowgill said: “The robust trading in the Sports Fascias has continued since the period end although trading in the Fashion Fascias has been more difficult.
“As ever, the Group result for the full year remains very dependent on the sales and margin performance in December and January.
“Notwithstanding the economic pressure on margin and the general increase in taxation and other levies across Europe, the Board believes that the Group is well positioned to deliver results that are within the range of current expectations.”