JD Sports’ chair: Governance changes won’t ‘kill entrepreneurial spirit’ of retailer
JD Sports’ new chair Andrew Higginson has said corporate governance changes will bring the retailer up to pace without being too “heavy handed.”
The trainer seller recently created distinct roles of chair and CEO, after the departure of former boss Peter Cowgill earlier this year.
After decades at the helm of the London-listed firm, Cowgill stepped down following several brushes with the competition watchdog.
The business must “catch up” with the growth it has achieved so far, new chair Higginson told CityA.M. on Thursday, as some controls and processes “haven’t quite kept pace so far.”
However, it was “critical” to bring the firm up to speed “without killing the entrepreneurial spirit of the business.”
JD Sports said it will continue to be “cautious” about trading, as inflationary pressures and the threat of strike action in its supply chain wage on.
The London-listed retailer posted profit before tax of £383.5m, lower than its 2021 sum of £439.5m, in results for the half-year to 30 July.
Shares in the high street staple fell by almost four per cent when the market opened on Thursday morning.
The company acknowledged “the potential for further disruption to the supply chain with industrial action a continuing risk in many markets,” chair Andrew Higginson, said.
However, chief financial officer Neil Greenhalgh insisted that this had been stated to “give people an indication of the kindof things you just deal with on a day to day operational perspective,” and that the retailer was adapting.
Disruption at ports including Felixstowe and Liverpool had meant the retailer switched some shipping deliveries to other ports such as Southampton, Greenhalgh told CityA.M.
Inflationary pressures and the “widespread macro-economic uncertainty” also meant that it was “inevitable” for JD Sports to remain wary about trading throughout the rest of the second half.
However, the board still reiterated that headline profit before tax and exceptional items for the year ending 28 January 2023 would be in line with “record performance” for the 2022 year.
Earlier this week, the retailer announced that former boss Peter Cowgill was set to receive £5.5m after making a departure from the brand, clouded by controversy.
Exit terms include a £3.5m payment over two years for agreeing to certain limits and £2m over three years for a consultancy agreement.