JD Sports profits surge

RETAILER JD Sports Fashion yesterday reported a 26 per cent rise in annual profits and hiked its dividend.

Pre-tax profits before exceptional items surged to £67.4m in the year to 30 January – up from £53.6m last year.

Like-for-like sales were up two per cent in the ten weeks to 10 April.

The company said it had stayed competitive despite the difficult economic environment and unfavourable exchange rates.

But it is also warned that consumer spending had still not fully recovered.

The firm said in a statement: “We recognise the increasing challenges of strong comparatives and the current economic and fiscal threats to consumers’ expenditure.”

Shares in JD Sports have risen by more than three quarters over the last year while the company has raised its dividend by 65 per cent to 14.7p. The company made several acquisitions in 2009, including the Canterbury rugby brand for £6.67m and Chausport, a small French sports shoe retailer.