JD Sports eyes acquisitions

City A.M. Reporter
Clothing and footwear retailer JD Sports Fashion said it would consider buying distressed brands or companies both in the UK and overseas as it posted a 37 per cent rise in first-half profit.

“The financial pressures that certain brands or companies in the sector are suffering provides potential opportunity,” executive chairman Peter Cowgill said.

Italy, Spain and Germany were “on the radar"”as well as further deals in Britain.

“What we are finding is that we are being approached by a number of overseas operators and we’re really just assessing those,” said Cowgill.

The group, which trades as JD Sports, Chausport, Size, Bank and Scotts from 530 stores, has scope for further acquisitions with its net cash of £34.5m at the half-year end forecast by analysts to rise to about £90m by end-January 2011.

Prior to yesterday’s update shares in JD Sports had increased by nearly a third over the last year.

Some 57 per cent of the shares are owned by sportswear company Pentland, while Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct owns 12 percent,

JD Sports made an underlying pretax profit of £19.4m in the six months to 31 July, up from £14.2m in the same period last year. Revenue increased 18.5 per cent to £383.9m, helped by the stimulus to trade from the run-up to the World Cup. Sales at UK and Ireland stores open at least a year increased 2.8 per cent over the half and were up 2.7 per cent for the four weeks to 28 August.

The interim dividend was raised 15.2 per cent to 3.8 pence. Cowgill added that December and January would be key months.