JD Sports bullish after record first-half earnings

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JD Sports has reported a record first-half profit as lockdowns eased and people visited its shops in Britain and Ireland, sending its shares to an all-time high as investors looked past the scrapped dividend and looked ahead to the holiday season.

The company said it expects earnings in the year ending January 29 to more than double from a year earlier even as it navigates global supply chain constraints and Brexit disruptions, which it said limited its sales.

Its shares jumped 9.7%.

JD Sports has been expanding in the last few years, buying up US rivals Finish Line, DTLR and Footasylum, as it takes advantage of the rising popularity of comfortable athletic clothing that can be worn anywhere.

And the pandemic has accelerated that trend as people working from home grow more comfortable in their sweatpants and hoodies.

JD Sports’ earnings before tax and exceptionals soared to £439.5m (€515m) for the six months to July from £61.9m in 2020 and £158.6m the year before that.

The company expects a headline pre-tax profit for the full year ending January 29, 2022, of at least £750m, well over the combined earnings from the previous two years.

JD Sports, which withheld its interim dividend, said it will consider paying a larger final dividend depending on its performance.

The company also warned of footfall remaining weak in many countries and supply chain challenges that held it back from meeting strong demand in some categories, including bikes and cycling-related accessories.

“We remain cautious about both the potential for further restrictions on trading through the usual peak trading period prior to Christmas,” the company said.

It is also looking to spend £100m on another EU warehouse facility in the Netherlands.

-Reuters