JD Sports sprints ahead but its fashion arm runs out of breath

Kasmira Jefford
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JD SPORTS, the sportswear and fashion retailer, yesterday posted a rise in sales despite a steep drop in trading at its fashion division.

The retailer said like-for-like sales in the UK rose 1.5 per cent in the 16 weeks to 17 November.

But while sales at its sports stores, which include JD and Size?, rose by 3.5 per cent, trading across its fashion stores, which include Bank and Scotts slumped by 6.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

JD, which came to the rescue of outdoor sports chain Blacks Leisure last year, has started investing and revamping the stores and said “early signs are encouraging for the future”.

It has recently brought in ex-Cotswold boss Ken Reeve to run the Blacks part of the firm, and yesterday said it would update on the turnaround after Christmas. N+1 Singer was upbeat on the strategy so far, saying: “The perceived risks with the Blacks turnaround are diminishing and we have confidence in management’s ability to turn the business around.”

JD Sports added that the group’s full-year performance is “substantially dependent” on Christmas trading, particularly the last two weeks of December, but it is “on course” to deliver full-year earnings in line with expectations.

Shares in the firm closed up almost one per cent.