JD Sports urges caution despite sales lift

City A.M. Reporter
Sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion said it was extremely cautious about the future despite bucking the general gloom on the high street to post a 21 per cent rise in year profit.

The firm, which trades as JD Sports, Size, Bank, Scotts and Chausport, said Wednesday it made an underlying pretax profit of 81.6 million pounds for the year to end-January.

Sales increased by 14.8 per cent to £883.7m, with sales at stores open over a year up 3.1 per cent, driven by strong demand for external brands such as Adidas and Nike and the firm's own brands such as Mckenzie and Carbrini.

However it warned that despite the strong trading it was still worried about the impact tax rises and public spending cuts would have on the consumer.

"The retail environment has recently been significantly impacted by adverse fiscal changes in addition to the multiple current economic pressures," Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill said.

"Against that background, therefore, it is inevitable that the board is extremely cautious in its outlook, particularly when the profits achieved for the year to 29 January 2011 are effectively rebased purely as a result of the impact of increased VAT."

JD Sports, which last month decided against bidding for struggling rival JJB Sports, is paying a total dividend of 23 pence, up 28 per cent.