JD Sports’ profits surge to record as online demand drives sales

JD Sports Fashion PLC updates

JD Sports’ first-half profits surged to a record, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, as fiscal stimulus in the US combined with increased spending online and pent-up demand in the UK.

Profit before tax and exceptional items rose to £439.5m in the first six months of the year, from £61.9m last year and £158.6m before the pandemic.

Shares in the Lancashire-based athleisurewear group rose 7.3 per cent in morning trading on Tuesday. The company is now the biggest non-food retailer in the UK by market capitalisation, surpassing Next.

“The group continues to demonstrate outstanding resilience in the face of numerous challenges” from the Covid-19 pandemic, said executive chair Peter Cowgill.

Line chart of Market value (£m) showing JD Sports overtakes Next

The retailer’s US business, which recently bought sportswear brands Shoe Palace and DTLR, benefited from the second round of fiscal stimulus from the US government, with the $1,200 economic impact payments made to US citizens acting as a powerful stimulus among younger shoppers.

Profit before tax and exceptional items in the US climbed to £245m, from £73.4m last year and £35.7m in 2019.

In the UK and Ireland, online sales increased in the first quarter while lockdowns closed stores. There was strong pent-up demand once stores had reopened.

However, footfall has not rebounded in all markets, with Cowgill noting a “widespread strain on international logistics [and] materially lower levels of footfall into stores in many countries”.


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