JD Sports upbeat as latest year proves strong

The phenomenally successful JD Sports chain has always been one to watch and since we learned about its takeover of US-based Finish Line it has found a place on the watchlists of many in the US as well as in Europe and Asia.

JD Sports is going from strength to strength - DR

That made its results announcement on Tuesday morning all the more interesting and the company certainly had a bright story to tell about the 53 weeks to February 3.

Its pre-tax, pre-exceptionals profit surged 26% to £307.4 million. That came as revenue bounced ahead even further with a 33% rise to £3.16 billion. Comparable store sales rose too with a 3% increase, although that wasn't as much as the double-digit growth it has seen in the three previous years.

And the online performance was spectacular with website comp sales up an undeniably impressive 30%.

Even though the total gross margin for the year at 48.4% was slightly behind the prior year’s 48.9%, the dip was due to a full year of Go Outdoors being included in the results with the Outdoor business being lower margin. 

It all suggests a company in robust good health and one uniquely well-positioned to help Finish Line prosper too. And growth overseas is clearly important for JD with it adding 56 stores in its core Europe business after opening 54 in the previous year. The latest raft of openings included its debut in Finland. The company also promised “significant expansionary momentum [in Europe] in the new financial year.”

And it's been expanding in Asia-Pacific too with new stores in Malaysia, Australia and South Korea.

By division, the company also said its Sports Fashion unit had “another exceptional year” with pre-exceptionals operating profits up 22% to £300m. And Outdoor core earnings (with Go Outdoors included for the first time) rose to £23 million from £7 million a year ago.

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