Sports profit

JD Sports earnings soar on US strength and pent-up demand

JD Sports Fashion announced record first-half results boosted by pent-up demand after UK stores reopened following the lockdown and acquisitions in the US.

Pre-tax profit before exceptional items jumped to £439.5m in the six months to the end of July, from £61.9m the year before, as revenue jumped from £2.54bn at £3.89 billion.

JD said it expected annual pre-tax profit for the full year to be at least £750m. The FTSE 100 retailer did not declare any interim dividend, but said the final dividend could be larger depending on any trade restrictions.

Pre-tax profit before exceptionals from JD’s core business in the UK and Ireland rose to £170.8m from £52m a year earlier and £115m in the first half of 2019, with customers shopping online during shutdowns and spending more once stores reopen. Profit in the US rose to £245m from £73.4m the previous year, buoyed by £73m from the Shoe Palace and DTLR acquisitions and fiscal stimulus from the Biden administration.

Chairman Peter Cowgill said: “The group continues to show exceptional resilience in the face of many challenges resulting from the continued prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic in many countries, widespread pressure on international logistics and other supply chain challenges, significantly lower levels of footfall in stores in many countries after reopening and the continued administrative and financial consequences resulting from the loss of duty-free and frictionless trade with the Union European.”

Trading in the first weeks of the second half was generally encouraging, although retail footfall was relatively low in many countries, JD said.

JD shares rose 7.7% to £11.30 at 08.46 BST and were the biggest gainers on the FTSE 100 index. The shares have gained 38% in 2021.

“JD Sports reports an impressive series of interim results this morning,” Coastal capital mentioned. “Today’s brief statement should reassure investors that the group remains on track as it delivers a year of good revenue and profit growth.”

Updated fourth paragraph to show figures for UK and Ireland.