// JD Sports increases full-year profit outlook to £550m compared to £324m last year
// However, it says the rise in Covid-19 cases amid the spread of the Delta variant is affecting its core customer base
// JD Sports also planned to split Peter Cowgill’s role of executive chairman & CEO before the next AGM.
JD Sports has increased its profit outlook after solid trading since shops reopened, but warned over the impact of the current resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
The UK’s biggest sportswear retailer said trading has been “particularly encouraging” in the UK since lockdown restrictions have eased, while most of its 3300 stores worldwide are also now open apart from some across the Asia Pacific region.
It raised its pre-tax profit expectations for the year, saying it was set to record “no less than” £550 million compared to £324 million the previous year, thanks to the trading boost and a more resilient online performance during store closures.
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However, the retail giant said the rise in Covid-19 cases amid the spread of the Delta variant, first identified in India, was affecting its core customer base more than previously in the pandemic.
It said that this, together with the uncertainty over the crisis and possible further lockdowns, means it would wait before handing back any government furlough support.
“We are cognisant that the retention of sales in the period when the stores were closed, combined with the positive trading in the immediate period after reopening, did help to offset the negative financial impacts associated with the period of temporary closures,” JD Sports said in a statement.
“However, we must also acknowledge that the uncertainty surrounding Covid has not yet fully passed and the current resurgence in infection rates is affecting our core customer demographic more than was the case previously.”
The retailer confirmed it would decide on furlough cash repayment when there was “certainty on both the full easing of restrictions and the consequences of any further lockdowns during our peak trading period this winter”.
JD Sports said it also planned to split Peter Cowgill’s role of executive chairman and chief executive before the next AGM and will start a “comprehensive process” shortly.
It conceded that the make-up of its board should “reflect the current scale, momentum and global positioning” of the firm and its higher stock market valuation.
with PA Wires