JD Sports H1 tops £2.7bn amid Belgium Brexit plan

Shares of Bury-based JD Sports Fashion Plc, the UK’s biggest sportswear retailer, rose about 6% on Tuesday after it said its revenue increased 47% to £2.7 billion and reported profit before tax increased 6.6% to £129.9 million in the 26 weeks to August 3.

On Brexit, JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “The group always expected that, for operational purposes, a European warehouse would be required sometime after 2021 with the risks associated with Brexit bringing this decision forward.

“We are working with our logistics partners to secure an initial 80,000 sqft of space at a facility in Belgium which will provide us with sufficient capacity to process launch product for footwear for the key brands.

“This facility would be available for use in early 2020.”

JD Sports said its international development continues with a net increase of 23 JD stores across mainland Europe, net increase of seven JD stores in the Asia Pacific region and six JD stores now trading in the United States plus a trading website.

Cowgill said: “Against a backdrop of widely reported retail challenges in the UK, it is extremely encouraging that JD has delivered like for like sales growth of more than 10% with an improved conversion reflecting consumers’ increasingly positive reaction to our elevated multichannel proposition where a unique and constantly evolving sports and fashion premium brand offer is presented in a vibrant retail theatre with innovative digital technology. 

“JD also continues to gain momentum in Europe with a further double digit increase in total like for like sales and a net increase of 23 stores in the period.

“We are pleased by the continued positive trends to date in the second half in Sports Fashion whilst recognising the tougher comparatives ahead.

“Notwithstanding the ongoing uncertainty with regards to Brexit, the board is confident that, without the impact from the transition to IFRS 16, the group would have been on track to deliver headline profit before tax for the full year at the top end of market expectations which currently range from £402 million to £424 million.

“However, after adjusting for the impact of the transition to IFRS 16, we would expect to deliver results at the mid-point of expectations.

“We remain encouraged by our prospects for further growth.”