Belfast Telegraph

JD Sports Fashion profits set to beat forecasts after 'exceptional' trading

Retailer JD Sports Fashion added to the Christmas cheer across the high street as it said annual profits would beat forecasts after "exceptional" trading.

The chain said it had maintained like-for-like sales growth at around 10% in its second half so far to January 7.

Shares jumped by 7% as it said profits for the year to January 28 are set to come in higher than City expectations by up to 15%.

Most analysts were pencilling in underlying pre-tax profits of £200 million.

Its guidance means the profit haul will come in significantly higher than the £157.1 million posted for the last financial year.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, praised an "exceptional trading performance".

He said: " I am delighted to report that we have maintained our excellent momentum from the first half of the year."

He added it would be " unreasonable" to expect sales growth to continue at the same pace for a fifth year in a row, but said he had confidence in the group's "unique and often exclusive sports fashion premium brand".

Retail analyst Kate Calvert, at Investec, said JD Sports had delivered "another excellent Christmas performance".

The firm notched up a third year of double-digit sales growth, which is "particularly impressive", she said.

JD Sports posted record half-year profits in September, up 66% to £77.4 million, driven by 10% like-for-like sales growth at its shops and a 20% hike in overall revenues to £ 971 million.

It credited the surge in popularity for athletic-inspired footwear and fashion across the UK and Europe.

But JD Sports has come under fire recently amid allegations over working conditions at its warehouse in Rochdale.

It said last month it would open an investigation after a Channel 4 report claimed the facility was ''worse than a prison''.

The group said it does not believe the allegations to be an ''accurate reflection of our culture'', but confirmed it will probe the " implementation of our policies'' at its Kingsway Business Park facility.