JD Sports set for hard slog at Christmas

 
City A.M. Reporter
HIGH street chain JD Sports said yesterday it had seen a sharp slowdown in sales growth since September and warned that Christmas trading would be tough.

In a downbeat assessment of falling UK consumer sentiment, the company warned that it was having to work hard to sustain its margins as customers spent less.

Shares in the clothing and footwear firm, which trades as JD Sports, Size, Bank, Scotts and Chausport, fell nearly seven per cent after it said sales at stores open over a year, including VAT sales tax, rose just 0.2 per cent in the 16 weeks to 19 November.

That shows a marked slowdown from growth of 3.3 per cent in the seven weeks to 17 September.

“Although we anticipate a tough Christmas trading period ... at this stage the board believes the group remains on course to deliver earnings in line with current expectations,” the company said yesterday.

JD Sports has remained more resilient throughout the past year than other high street firms such as JJB Sports and French Connection.

“Recent trading, whilst representing a decline from the August-September period, is nevertheless holding up relatively well given difficult market conditions and tough comparatives,” analysts at Charles Stanley Securities said in a note.