// JD Sports “retained substantially all of its record profitability” in the full-year
// The retailer recorded pre-tax profit before exceptional items of £421.3m in the year to January 30
// JD Sports also recorded “exceptional trading” in the US thanks to acquisitions
JD Sports has faced “unprecedented challenges” over the last year but has “retained substantially all of its record profitability”.
The sportswear retailer reported full-year profits well ahead of market expectations as trading proved resilient despite the impact of store closures.
JD Sports recorded pre-tax profit before exceptional items of £421.3 million in the year to January 30 – down from £438.8 million the previous year.
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JD Sports’ sales were just ahead of the previous year’s, at £6.17 billion.
The company said its UK division, which includes JD and Size, retained roughly 70 per cent of revenues after shifting online during the initial lockdown in spring.
This increased to 100 per cent when stores were closed again in November.
JD Sports also recorded “exceptional trading” in the US, which it said was partly due to increased consumer demand caused by government stimulus.
The company launched its first flagship store in New York, while a further 37 former Finish Line stores were converted to JD outlets over the year.
It made further acquisitions of California-based Shoe Palace, as well as DTLR after the year end.
In the UK, the CMA is now reassessing JD Sports’ merger with Footasylum after its initial decision to block the deal was quashed on appeal.
JD Sports warned there was uncertainty over whether footfall to Footasylum would return to pre-pandemic levels and booked a £55.6 million impairment charge as a result.
The retailer said it will pay a final dividend of 1.44p per share and forecast 2022 profit before tax of between £475 million and £500 million.
“A number of positive themes have been increasingly apparent through the year which gives us confidence that, as we begin to emerge from the worst of the disruption, JD is at the pinnacle of the global sports fashion industry,” JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill said.
“We have a market leading multichannel proposition which continues to enhance its relevance to consumers and has the necessary agility to progress in an environment where the retailing of international brands may see permanent global structural change.”