Belfast Telegraph

Buoyant JD Sports expecting further growth despite Brexit 'pressures'

JD Sports has reported a record set of annual results as the retailer hailed an "exceptional year" and pointed to further growth, despite Brexit-linked inflationary pressures.

Pre-tax profits at the sports-to-fashion chain rose by 81% to £238 million in the year to January 28, while revenue grew 31% to £2.3 billion.

Like-for-like sales grew 10% over the period and executive chairman Peter Cowgill said, in spite of rising inflation linked to the collapse in the pound following last year's vote, the firm is well placed for growth.

"Whilst we must recognise that there are external influences which may impact the latter part of the year, notably inflationary pressures arising from Brexit, the board remains confident in the robustness of the JD proposition and believes that the group is well positioned for further profitable growth," he said.

The pound's demise has ramped up costs for British businesses, many of which are having to raise prices for consumers as a result.

The group added that while the UK's vote to leave the European Union means there will be "some uncertainties for the immediately foreseeable future", its international expansion will have a "clear strategic focus".

The group opened 54 stores across Europe last year and opened a further two stores in Malaysia.

The first JD store in Australia is due to open shortly.

JD also flagged that its Blacks and Millets brands delivered positive results for the first time.

The company has also completed a review into working conditions at its warehouse in Rochdale after a Channel 4 report claimed it was "worse than a prison".

The company instructed Deloitte to carry out the review and said on Tuesday: "That review has now been completed and Deloitte's conclusion was that the allegations did not represent a balanced characterisation of working practices at Kingsway.

"As before, we remain committed to continually reviewing and implementing improvements in day-to-day procedures there."

The broadcaster's report claimed workers at the Kingsway factory faced a "three strikes" policy where they could be axed for offences such as chewing gum or sitting down.

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