JD Sports shares fall 20% as it lowers profit forecast

Shares of JD Sports Fashion plc, the Bury-based FTSE 100 retailer, fell about 20% after it published its peak season trading update and lowered its full-year profit forecast amid “more cautious consumer spending.”

JD Sports said it now estimates profit before tax and adjusted items will be between £915 million and £935 million for the year ending February 3, 2024.

That is down from a previous expected profit in line with market expectations of around £1.04 billion.

“For the 22 weeks to 30 December 2023, constant currency organic revenue growth was 6.0% with like-for-like growth of 1.8%,” said the Bury firm.

“This was slightly behind our expectations.

“Apparel revenue growth was impacted by milder weather from the second half of September, while the peak trading season, across the market, was softer and more promotional than we anticipated, reflecting more cautious consumer spending.

“We expect full year organic revenue growth to be c.8%.

“The gross margin rate for the period is in line with last year.

“This is lower than our expectations due to the elevated level of promotional activity during the peak trading period and therefore we now anticipate the full-year gross margin rate will be slightly lower than last year.

“FY24 will also be impacted by a reclassification of certain capital expenditures into operating expenses, expected to be £7m, and lower interest income of £8m following the ISRG NCI acquisition, as well as the previously announced dual running infrastructure costs.

“Therefore, in terms of the full year ending 3 February 2024, we now estimate profit before tax and adjusted items will be between £915m and £935m.

“As we approach the year end, we remain comfortable with our current inventory position.

“The group’s full-year results will be released in a similar timeframe to last year as we work alongside new auditors.

“Before then, we plan to release a full-year trading outcome update in March, including our initial guidance for FY25.”

JD Sports Fashion CEO Régis Schultz said: “We have made good progress against our five-year strategic plan, delivering global organic revenue growth of 6% in the period, against very tough comparisons with last year, and opening over 200 new JD stores in the year.

“Our key markets have seen increased promotional activity during the peak trading season, driven by a more cautious consumer, but we continue to grow market share.

“We are confident in our strategy and we continue to invest in our supply chain, systems and stores, supported by our strong cash generation and healthy balance sheet.”