JD Sports Fashion struck an upbeat note in an otherwise gloomy high street as it revealed a 24 per cent jump in full-year profits.
At a tough time for high street retailers, the popularity of sportswear helped the retailer post a 24 per cent leap in pre-tax profits to £294.5million for the year to February 3, on revenues 33 per cent higher at £3.16billion.
The company’s financial year ended before March, when cold weather swept across the UK, hitting trading for many retailers.
Fit: The popularity of sportswear helped JD posting a 24 per cent leap in pre-tax profits
JD Sports did not comment on whether the ‘Beast from the East’ had affected current trading, but said it was ‘satisfied’ with progress so far and confident about the prospects for the current year.
The upbeat annual results sent shares in the FTSE 250 firm rising 6.2 per cent, or 22p, to 375p.
David Madden market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: ‘The company is performing well on the high street and online, and its expansion overseas is clearly paying off. The share price gapped higher today, and if the positive mood continues it could target 400p.’
JD Sports said store like-for-like sales rose by 3 per cent, while online sales rose 30 per cent.
It comes as the wider UK retail sector has suffered amid a dismal start to the year, hit by surging costs, freezing weather and snow disruption, as well as a pullback in consumer spending.
Budget fashion chain Primark was the latest to reveal a hit to sales today from last month’s blast of cold weather.
JD Sports said its global expansion continued apace in the past year, with 56 stores opened on mainland Europe on a net basis.
It has also recently announced its US market debut after agreeing to buy up American sportswear company Finish Line for $558million (£388million).
Excluding this deal, which has yet to complete, JD Sports now has 1,237 stores worldwide, including 385 shops in the UK and Ireland.
Retail analyst Jonathan Pritchard, at Peel Hunt, said: ‘At a tough time for the industry and the consumer, that’s a standout effort and it is clear that the JD offer is exactly what the customers want, be that physically or online.
‘Coming as it does at a moment when the big brands are thinking further about consolidating their retailer lists, such form is invaluable and we see the move to the US as another logical step towards JD becoming a global brand.’