JD Sports shares up 8% amid £1bn profit expectation

Shares of JD Sports Fashion plc, the Bury-based FTSE 100 retailer, rose about 8% after it said it expects headline profit before tax and adjusted items for the 53-week period ending February 3, 2024, will be in line with the current market consensus expectations of £1.04 billion.

For the 26 weeks ended July 29, 2023, JD Sports said revenue grew 8.3% to £4.783 billion and profit before tax rose 25.8% to £375.2 million.

The Bury firm is proposing an increase in interim dividend from 0.13p per ordinary share to 0.30p per ordinary share.

On current trading and outlook, the company said: “In the last seven weeks, trading across the group has continued in line with our expectations.

“At constant exchange rates, organic sales growth was 10%. In addition, we have continued to open new JD stores worldwide and are on track to meet our full-year store targets.

“We are acutely aware of how tough the macro-economic environment is for consumers across the world. Despite this context, assuming current exchange rates, we expect the group’s headline profit before tax and adjusted items for the 53-week period ending 3 February 2024 will be in line with the current market consensus expectations of £1.04 billion.”

JD Sports Fashion CEO Régis Schultz said: “We have delivered a strong first half to our financial period with organic sales growth of 12% and profit on track for the full year.

“In line with our strategic plan, growth is being driven by our premium Sports Fashion business with an impressive performance in Europe (+27%) and North America (+15%), supported by a strong performance in our more mature UK market (+8%).

“This performance continued in the important back to school period.

“We have made good progress delivering on our strategic pillars, focusing on expanding the JD brand and we will open more than 200 JD stores worldwide in this financial period.

“We are going to accelerate JD brand growth in Europe through purchasing the non-controlling interest in both ISRG and MIG, and the acquisition of GAP stores in France.

“This is alongside the proposed acquisition of Courir in the region, which will, when completed, enhance the Group’s existing portfolio of complementary concepts, bringing into the company its market-leading focus on the female customer.

“Meanwhile, we are building and investing in talent and infrastructure to support future growth.

“Our first half performance would not have been possible without the efforts of our people across the world and I am extremely grateful for their continued hard work and commitment.

“I would also like to thank outgoing CFO Neil Greenhalgh specifically for his support since I joined and for his years of service to JD. I look forward to working with Dominic Platt, who will start as our new CFO in October 2023.

“Looking ahead, our core consumers remain resilient in the face of the ongoing global macro-economic challenges.

“The JD brand continues to strengthen its global presence, supported by our strategic partnerships with much-loved brands and our strong balance sheet.”