JD Sports heads for £1bn profit amid international push

Shares of Bury-based FTSE 100 retailer JD Sports Fashion plc rose about 6% on Wednesday after it published a “particularly impressive” trading update on its performance following the key Christmas trading period.

The company stressed its “strategic focus on the international and digital expansion” and estimated that its “headline” profit before tax and exceptional items for the full year to February 3, 2024 will be just over £1 billion.

JD Sports said revenues in its organic retail businesses strengthened through the second half of the year with total revenue growth for the 22 weeks to December 31, 2022, of more than 10%, compared with growth of 5% for the first half.

“The performance in these businesses through the Christmas period, both in stores and online, was particularly impressive with total revenue growth over the six-week period to 31 December 2022 of more than 20%,” said JD Sports.

“We are very encouraged by the performance of our global premium sports fascias.

“Notably, our businesses in North America have, as expected, recovered strongly delivering growth of more than 20% through the second half to date.

“This improvement reflects both the improved availability of product in all of our banners and the positive momentum in the development of the JD fascia with 134 stores now trading as JD across the United States and Canada.

“Elsewhere, our businesses in the UK and Republic of Ireland, Europe and Asia Pacific have maintained their first half momentum, both in stores and online, which is reassuring and demonstrates the ongoing resilience of our proposition and the enduring strength of our multi-channel consumer engagement.”

JD Sports said the positive performance through the second half to date means it now expects “headline” group profit before tax and exceptional items for the year ended January 28, 2023, will be towards the top end of current published market expectations which range from £933 million to £985 million.

“The ultimate outturn will, however, reflect trading through the remainder of January with the post-Christmas sale period still to take place in some of our most important European markets,” said the firm.

“Looking ahead, management are confident that consumers worldwide are more attracted than ever to JD’s differentiated proposition with its attention-grabbing theatre in stores, advanced digital technologies, breadth in the range of brands and availability of key styles.

“Management firmly believe that the most significant opportunities lie in the continued international multi-channel development of the group’s sports fashion businesses and, consequently, the group will be accelerating its global investment in these businesses through 2023 …

“At this time, assuming current exchange rates, we estimate that the group’s headline profit before tax and exceptional items for the full year to 3 February 2024 will be just over £1 billion …”

JD Sports CEO Régis Schultz said: “The engagement and commitment of our teams through the peak trading period has been phenomenal with many of our stores and websites delivering record sales and JD’s market-leading product and retail experience capturing the imagination of customers globally like never before.

“Our strategic focus on the international and digital expansion of our global premium sports fascias is underpinned by the continued strength of these businesses.”