JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) saw its shares rise today after the retailer reported record first-half profit, boosted by the opening of 35 new stores at home and abroad, and said it expects its full year results to be at the top end of market expectations.
The FTSE 250-listed eponymous high street firm - which also runs fashion and outdoor retail outlets such as Scotts and Blacks - said its pretax profits for the 26 weeks to July 29 jumped by a third to £102.7mln, up from £77.4mln a year earlier.
The profit leap came as revenue from its sports fashion business rose by more than 30% to £1.17bn, bolstered by the opening of 12 JD stores in UK and Ireland and 23 across mainland Europe.
JD’s overall revenue rose by 41% to £1.367bn, with its gross profit margin rising to 47.4% from 48.1%.
Peter Cowgill, JD’s executive chairman, said: “"We are encouraged by the sales to date in the second half which have continued at similar levels to those in the first half supporting our continued confidence in the robustness of the JD proposition.”
He added: “We expect the year end outturn to be towards the upper end of market expectations, which currently range from approximately £268 million to £290 million, and remain confident that we are appropriately positioned to deliver further profitable growth and enhance long term shareholder value."
The group hiked its interim dividend by 4% to 0.26p, up from 0.25p last year.
JD Sports shares topped the FTSE 250 gainers in early morning trading, up 4.6%, or 15.8p to 358.4p.
In a note to clients, analysts at Shore Capital reiterated a ‘buy’ rating on the stock, saying: “We continue to be bullish about JD over the long-term and believe given the current growth of the business as well as the strength of the business model that the shares are undervalued at its current price.”
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