Sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion has reported record earnings for the first half thanks to strong demand for sportswear.
However, the company withheld its interim dividend and made the suggestion of a “larger full year dividend” instead.
JD Sports said it had been limited by supply chain disruption, meaning it had struggled to meet demand for popular categories including bikes and cycling accessories.
It also cited “ongoing administrative and cost consequences resulting from the loss of tariff free, frictionless trade with the European Union” as a challenge in the period.
Footfall still remained weak in many countries as the world reopens after Covid lockdowns but trading in the first few weeks of the second half had been promising, the company said.
It forecast headline pretax profit for the full year ending January 29 to be at least £750m after reporting a figure of £348.5m last year.
The retailer reported a pretax profit of £339.9 for 2019.
Profit before tax and exceptional items rose to £439.5m for the six months ended July 31 from £61.9m in 2020 and £158.6m the year before the pandemic.
The business has benefited from consumers opting for more comfortable clothes to work from home in, with loungewear and athleisure products.
JD Sports is reportedly mulling an investment in online women’s fashion brand Missguided, after a bid to takeover rival Footasylum was blocked by the competition watchdog.
Freetrade analyst, David Kimberley, said the results represented a continuation of a trend that has seen “sales rise six-fold over the past decade.”
“But investors’ focus will be on its recent acquisitions in North America. The US is a graveyard of UK businesses that have tried and failed to expand there, whether it’s Tesco or Arcadia. The early signs are actually positive here as JD looks on track to earn far more in the US this year than it does in its core UK market,” Kimberley added.