JD Sports bucks retail woes with hike in annual profits

JD Sports sprints higher as athleisure craze helps to drive record profits

JD Sports sprints ahead on demand for sports wear

JD Sports also struck deals a year ago, including a $558m purchase of Finish Line, to tap into the lucrative U.S. sportswear market and to expand into the South Korean market.

Guided by executive chairman Peter Cowgill (pictured below) and astute numbers man Brian Small, the sports, fashion and outdoor brands purveyor is bucking an otherwise gloomy trend on the United Kingdom high street. "The board remains confident in the robustness and worldwide potential of the JD proposition and is excited by the major developments ahead".

The sports clothing retailer said pretax profit in the year ended February 3 grew 26% to GBP307.4 million from GBP244.8 million the prior year, as revenue rose 33% to GBP3.2 billion from GBP2.4 billion.

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JD Sports posted a record year this morning, as sales grew both in-store and online.

JD Sports, alongside its core sports retail business, also runs fashion and outdoor retail outlets such as Scotts and Blacks. Earnings before tax for the whole outdoors division, including the brand, were £23m, up from £7m previous year. Operating profit (before exceptional items) has now increased by more than 200% over the last three financial years (2015: GBP102.2m). This sustained growth could not have been achieved without a relentless and ongoing focus on a number of key principles which ensure we remain the undisputed consumer destination of choice for sport lifestyle footwear and apparel'.

While its "core" operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland continue to provide the foundation for its success, the retailer said global development of the JD fascia continues with 56 new stores opening over the year across Europe, while a further nine JD stores opened in the Asia Pacific region in the year, including the first stores in Australia.

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Part-owned by Mike Ashley's Sports Direct International (SPD), Finish Line trades across 44 USA states and Puerto Rico, boasts an established online business and is also the exclusive retailer of athletic shoes for Macy's.

It has also recently announced its USA market debut after agreeing to buy up American sportswear company Finish Line for 558 million United States dollars (£388 million) in what it has branded a "transformational" deal.

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