JD Sports profit ‘significantly ahead’ of expectations

Shares of Bury-based retail giant JD Sports Fashion Plc rose about 5% on Monday after it published a trading update on its performance following the Christmas trading period.

JD Sports said it expects group headline profit before tax to be “significantly ahead” of the current market expectations of £295 million — and said it anticipates that “outturn” for the full year will be at least £400 million.

“Against a backdrop of further forced temporary store closures in many of our global territories, it is pleasing to report that demand has remained robust throughout the second half, including in the key months of November and December,” said JD Sports.

“Total revenues for the twenty two week period to 2 January 2021 in the group’s like for like businesses were more than 5% ahead of the prior year as consumers readily switched between physical and digital channels.

“The positive nature of the demand through the second half to date means that we are now confident that the group headline profit before tax for the full year to 30 January 2021 will be significantly ahead of the current market expectations, which average approximately £295 million.

“It is now anticipated that the outturn for the full year will be at least £400 million.

“Looking ahead, it is clear that operational restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic will also be a material factor through at least the first quarter of the year to 29 January 2022.

“Whilst we are confident that we have the proposition to continue to attract consumers throughout this period, the process to scale down activity in stores and scale up the digital channels, often at extremely short notice, presents significant challenges.

“We are indebted to all of our colleagues in our different territories who have had to adopt new ways of working.

“Under normal circumstances, we would be confident that the results for the forthcoming year to 29 January 2022 would show a strong improvement on the current year.

“However, given the ongoing uncertain outlook with stores in the UK likely to be closed until at least Easter and closures in other countries possible at any time, our current best estimate is that the group headline profit before tax for the full year to 29 January 2022 will be 5% to 10% ahead of the current year.

“We intend to provide our next update on trading in the group’s preliminary results for the year ended 30 January 2021 which will be published on 13 April 2021.”