// JD Sports half-year pre-tax profits plunges by 68% year-on-year to £41.5m
// It also posted revenues of £2.54bn, down from £2.71bn for the same half-year period last year
// JD Sports encouraged by trading since stores exited lockdown but footfall remains “weak”
JD Sports has warned that retail footfall remains “weak” as cost rises caused by higher online sales weighed down on half-year profits.
The sportswear retailer said its pre-tax profits for the six months to August 1 plunged by 68 per cent year-on-year to £41.5 million.
Meanwhile, it posted revenues of £2.54 billion, down from £2.71 billion for the same period last year, after it was forced to shut its stores temporarily in March for the three-month coronavirus lockdown.
- JD Sports & shareholder fined £300,000 after Footasylum takeover
- JD Sports faces second shareholder revolt over executive pay
- JD Sports boss Peter Cowgill warns of more administrations post-Covid
JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill said he has been encouraged by the performance of stores since they reopened, with positive trading in the first weeks of the current half-year.
“However, retail footfall remains comparatively weak and the recent strengthening of measures in many countries and the subsequent temporary closure of some stores reminds us that Covid-19 remains an ongoing challenge,” he said.
He told investors that the company now expects to deliver a headline pre-tax profit of at least £265 million for the current full year.
JD Sports said it retained “significant” sales during the lockdown period as customers moved online, but saw profitability pressed down by additional online costs.
The retailer said initial trading in stores after reopening was boosted by a “combination of pent-up demand and promotional activity”, but this was “generally short lived” as footfall remained weak.
The company said it was encouraged by “generally resilient” trading in its UK and Ireland business, but attracting footfall into shopping centres “remains a significant challenge”.
“Ultimately, given the unique circumstances of this trading period, we are reassured by the strength of the JD brand as demonstrated by the retention of more than 90 per cent of the total revenues,” Cowgill said.
“However, it should be recognised that this has necessitated additional costs principally relating to the provision of enhanced health and safety measures, in all areas of the business, together with increased costs of online fulfilment, including performance marketing.”
with PA Wires