JD Sports sales rise but warns on Blacks loss

Kasmira Jefford
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<a href="http://www.jdsports.co.uk/home"; target="_new">JD sports</a>, the sports fashion and trainers retailer, yesterday posted a sales rise of 1.2 per cent but warned its recent acquisition of Blacks Leisure could lose up to £15m this year.

Sales of sports goods rose by 1.2 per cent in the 19 weeks to 9 June, the firm said, while fashion sales jumped by three per cent.

JD said gross margins, however, “continued to be under pressure”, particularly in the first half of the year, in part due to retailers continuing to slash prices on the high street.

The retailer saw £2.2m wiped off its profits last year following its £20m acquisition of Blacks, which it inherited with “a severe lack of stocks” and an excessive and over-rented store portfolio.

It expects the level of operating loss in the Blacks business this year to amount to £10m with the potential for a further up to £5m charge for restructuring.

“While the business continues to restructure its store portfolio and operate with legacy buying decisions, it is difficult to be more precise on the short term outlook, but we remain of the view that Blacks’s market position can be exploited profitably in the medium term,” it said in a statement.

The company, which has been stepping up its expansion overseas, remained upbeat about its prospects for growth, saying it was “exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of any opportunities, both in the UK and internationally.”

Freddie George, analyst at Seymour Pierce, said he expects half year results to be markedly down but still maintained his full year profit forecast of £68m.