JD Sports profit hit by losses at Blacks Leisure

City A.M. Reporter
JD SPORTS reported an expected 82 per cent drop in first half pre-tax profit yesterday as operating losses from its Blacks Leisure acquisition weighed on the group, but said it remained well positioned to hit full-year targets.

The clothing and footwear firm, which sells merchandise from top brands such as Nike and Adidas, said yesterday profit before tax and exceptional items for the six months to 28 July was almost £2.9m, down from £16m a year ago.

Revenue in the period grew by 26 per cent to £556m, with like for like sales in the UK and Ireland combined core retail segments up 1.1 per cent.

JD said the loss in outdoor clothing retailer Blacks, bought for £20m from administrators in January, was £10m in the period due to problems with a lack of stock and a high cost base but added that it was now stabilising and aimed to break even in the second half.

Chairman Peter Cowgill said second half trading had so far been robust in its sports division but more difficult in fashion.

Combined core like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 8 September were up 1.6 per cent, with good growth in the sport divisions offsetting a six per cent decline in fashion.

Shares in the FTSE 250 listed group, which in August sold rugby brand Canterbury to Pentland for £22.7m, closed at 718.5p yesterday, down on the previous day’s trading but up nearly 18 per cent on three months ago, valuing the business at around £350m.