JD Sports earnings up despite £700k hit from UK looters

SPORTSWEAR retailer JD Sports Fashion, whose shops were widely targeted by looters during last month’s riots in several cities, yesterday posted a 21 per cent rise in first-half profit and said it was well positioned for future growth.

The firm, which trades as JD Sports, Size, Bank, Scotts and Chausport, said stock totalling £700,000 was looted from a total of 16 stores during the riots.

“We are currently working with our insurers on the subsequent claim, covering theft of stock, repair costs and business interruption. We do not believe that the riots will have a material adverse impact on the outturn for the current year,” it said.

The group made a pre-tax profit of £20.1m in the 26 weeks to 30 July, up from £16.6m in the same period last year. Sales increased by 14.6 per cent to £439.8m, driven by strong demand for external brands such as Adidas and Nike and the firm’s own brands such as Mckenzie and Carbrini.

JD said trading since the period end has continued to improve with like-for-like sales for the core UK and Ireland retail fascias in the seven week period to 17 September up by 3.3 per cent.

JD Sports, which ended the first-half with net cash of £19.1m, is paying an interim dividend of 4.1p, up 7.9 per cent.

Shares in the firm, 57 per cent of which are owned by the Pentland sportswear group, have lost 10 per cent of their value over the last six months.

The group said it had continued its international expansion with deals in Spain and Ireland.