JD Sports posts record profits but warns economic woes will stifle growth

JD Sports has unveiled a record £947.2 million annual profit but is warning that earnings will remain flat in the current financial year amid the cost-of-living crisis

SCANDAL-hit retailer JD Sports Fashion has unveiled a record £947.2 million annual profit haul, but warned that earnings will remain flat in the current financial year amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The group, whose long-term boss Peter Cowgill recently resigned in the wake of a storm of negative publicity and a fine from the UK competition watchdog, saw underlying pre-tax profits more than double from £421.3 million the previous year.

Statutory pre-tax profits jumped to £654.7 million in the year to January 29 from £324 million the previous year as demand for sportswear showed no sign of slowing.

But JD Sports said profit growth is expected to be held back in the year to next January, due to pressures of the cost-of-living crisis in the UK and wider economic woes.

The retailer has 16 stores in Northern Ireland, and earlier this month its subsidiary, designer fashion chain Tessuti, confirmed that it will open a new flagship 12,900 sq ft store at Belfast’s Victoria Square by the end of this year in a unit vacated at the shopping complex by Topshop.

Helen Ashton, interim chair of JD Sports, said: "Whilst we are encouraged by the resilient nature of the consumer demand in the current year to date, we remain conscious of the headwinds that prevail at this time, including the general global macro-economic and geopolitical situation.

"Against this backdrop, the board believes that the headline profit before tax and exceptional items for the year end January 28 2023 will be in line with the record performance for the year ended January 29 2022."

She said the search for a new chief executive is continuing, with a "number of high-calibre candidates at different stages of consideration".

In February, JD Sports was fined £4.3 million by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for exchanging information with Footasylum, which it had agreed to buy at the time for £90 million.

The firm's results showed that group revenues surged to £8.6 billion from £6.2 billion the previous year.

It said sales for like-for-like businesses in the current year so far are 5% ahead of a year earlier, despite shortages of key footwear due to supply chain disruption.

The group added that it has repaid the £24.4 million support which its UK businesses received during the year to January 29 from the furlough scheme.

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