JD Sports defies investors who thought the athleisure trend was over

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The chain has been expanding in the UK and internationally (Source: JD Sports)

JD Sports has posted soaring profits this morning, defying investors who thought the athleisure trend was over.

The figures

For the 26 weeks ended 29 July, JD Sports' revenue jumped 41 per cent, rising from £970m to £1.4bn. Profit before tax soared 33 per cent to £102.7m.

The sportswear retailer had a net increase of 12 stores in the UK and Ireland, and 23 stores in Europe. It also opened its first outlet in Australia.

Peter Cowgill, JD Sports' executive chairman, said full-year profits would be at the top end of market expectations, which range between £268m and £290m.

Why it's interesting

Some analysts were worried about the future of the athleisure trend after American rival Foot Locker posted a sharp slump in sales in August. JD Sports' share price has also been under pressure in recent months after it said its sales were hit by the timing of Eid this year.

But the company's shares jumped 10 per cent at the open as investors welcomed the rise in sales and profit at the group. Neil Wilson, analyst at ETX capital, said "all the worry was misplaced".

"Margin pressure remains, but this is something we have been aware of for some time," he said. "This is partly down to the acquisition of Go Outdoors, which is a lower margin brand."

Kate Calvert, analyst at Investec, said the retailer is continuing to deliver against tough comparable figures and that it still had the potential to deliver double-digit growth.

What JD Sports said

Cowgill said: "This is another pleasing result demonstrating the strength of our highly differentiated multichannel proposition and our ability to prosper in an increasingly competitive market for athletic-inspired footwear and apparel.

"We have strengthened our foundations by significant progression internationally both instore and online so that the JD fascia now has a much broader store and multichannel consumer reach and brand influence globally."