Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom JD Sports Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom JD Sports RSS feed en Fri, 24 May 2019 19:54:32 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[RNS press release - Appointment of Non-Executive Director ]]> Mon, 13 May 2019 16:40:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Compulsory Acquisition of Footasylum Shares ]]> Tue, 23 Apr 2019 18:00:06 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Billion-pound Finish Line boost spurs JD Sports to record annual profit ]]> Tracksuits and trainers retailer JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) enjoyed a record year in 2018 as annual pre-tax profits surpassed £300mln for the first time ever.

Sales climbed almost 50% in the 52 weeks ended 2 February to £4.72bn (2017: £3.16bn), driven by a billion-pound contribution from Finish Line – the US business it acquired in a “momentous” £400mln deal last summer.

READ: JD to buy struggling rival Footasylum on the cheap

Like-for-like growth, which strips out the impact of new and closed stores, was also strong at 6% as JD shrugged off any concerns about the UK high street.

The strong top-line performance trickled down to the bottom line, with pre-tax profits climbing 15.4% to £339.9mln (2017: £294.5mln), despite margins falling slightly as a result of dilution from the newly acquired businesses.

Excluding a few one-off charges, headline profit before tax – JD’s preferred metric – rose by a similar percentage to £355.2mln (2017:£307.4mln).

That is better than what bosses had guided for back in January, when they told the market headline PBT would be around £352.0mln.

Finish Line major growth driver

“I am very pleased to report that the group continues to make excellent progress,” said chief executive Peter Cowgill.

“Given the significance of Easter trading to the overall result of the group and the change in the timing relative to last year, any announcement of like-for-like sales performance in the year to date would lack precision.

“However, we are pleased with the continued underlying positive performance of the Group and are excited by the major developments ahead.”

The acquisition of Finish Line, which gives JD a strong foothold in the world’s largest athleisure market, no doubt spurred the FTSE 250 group to new heights.

The newbie added £956.6mln to overall revenues in 2018 and boosted profits by £26.6mln, despite only joining the JD stable in June.

“We maintain our belief that Finish Line is capable of delivering improved levels of profitability,” said Cowgill in the results.

City analysts impressed

“It’s hard to think of such an impressive showing anywhere else in retail and JD’s LFL sales growth and profit delivery is stellar, despite the negative background and awkward weather for outdoor,” said Peel Hunt in a note to clients.

“The JD format is resonating with both sports brands and customers worldwide, and the US, for many the final frontier for JD, has started really well.

“Recent trading sounds like it has been impressive and there is yet another upgrade here.

“The shares have gone from strength to strength and we see no reason why this won’t continue as the strength of the JD brand, its management and its general forward momentum show no sign of waning. It’s a clear buy with a higher teen multiple appropriate.”

Tue, 16 Apr 2019 07:50:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> Tue, 16 Apr 2019 07:00:08 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Offer for Footasylum declared wholly unconditional ]]> Fri, 12 Apr 2019 08:30:04 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Form 8 (OPD) - Footasylum plc ]]> Thu, 28 Mar 2019 15:25:01 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Publication and Posting of Offer Document ]]> Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:30:21 +0000 <![CDATA[News - JD Sports to buy struggling rival Footasylum for up to £90.1mln ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) has agreed to buy struggling sportswear rival Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT) for up to £90.1mln.

In reaction, shares in Footasylum shot up 74% to 81.14p each while JD Sports gained 0.5% to 488.6p in morning trading. 

Footsasylum shareholders will receive 82.5p in cash for each share they hold, representing a 77.5% premium to Friday’s closing price of 46.5p.

READ: Footasylum sprints higher as JD confirms plans to build 29.9% stake in struggling rival

"We are pleased to make this offer for Footasylum, which is very complementary to our existing businesses in the UK, said JD Sports executive chairman, Peter Cowgill.

“We believe that there will be significant operational and strategic benefits through the combination of the very experienced and knowledgeable management team at Footasylum and our own expertise."

Footasylum targets 16 to 24-year-old consumers with its sports footwear and clothing, which JD Sports said is slightly older to its own demographic.

JD Sports will use existing cash resources and facilities to fund the acquisition.

Former JD Sports CEO is chairman of Footasylum 

Footasylum's executive chairman, Barry Bowman, said: "The Footasylum board has concluded that the offer represents the best strategic option for Footasylum and its employees.

"It believes the offer fairly reflects Footasylum's current market position and prospects on a standalone basis and, as such, that Footasylum shareholders should be given the opportunity to realise value from the offer."

Bowman was chief executive of JD Sports for 14 years to 2014 before joining Footaslym. 

JD Sports already owns 18.7% of Footasylum after buying a stake in February. At the time, it said it was prepared to increase its holding to 29.9% but ruled out a takeover bid. 

“Some observers felt the investment was an attempt to block Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct from swooping for a direct rival," AJ Bell investment director, Russ Mould, said. 

"Whether JD’s denials were true at the time or a classic piece of misdirection, the rationale for the full takeover appears to be that Footasylum offers exposure to a slightly older demographic than the younger teenagers which typically shop in JD stores.

“On the face of it, the offer looks pretty generous, even if it is a long way short of Footasylum’s market value at IPO of £171mln. 

Footasylum on the back foot since IPO 

Footasylum shares have fallen more than 76% since it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2017 following a series of profit warnings. 

READ: Footasylum gets a kicking as it downgrades full year margin forecasts

In January, Footasylum warned that profits will be lower than expected following heavy discounting.

Like the rest of the retail sector, Footasylum has come under pressure from tough online competition and subdued consumer spending.

JD Sports, on the other hand, has managed to buck the trend. The company said in a January trading update that it expected its full-year profits to be “at the upper end” of guidance following strong Christmas trading.  

READ: JD Sports surges as strong Christmas trading boosts earnings outlook

JD Sports has tapped into the lucrative athleisure trend, and its exclusive deals with brands such as Nike make its stores the go-to shop for those in search of new trainers or joggers.

Mon, 18 Mar 2019 07:38:00 +0000
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Rule 2.7 Announcement - Recommended Cash Offer ]]> Mon, 18 Mar 2019 07:00:06 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Statement from JD Sports Fashion Plc ]]> Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:20:02 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Fri, 01 Feb 2019 11:59:49 +0000 <![CDATA[News - How JD Sports bucked the high street doom and gloom once again ]]> UK retailers supposedly endured their worst Christmas for a decade last month, but try telling that to JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.).

The trainers and trackies seller has, not for the first time, bucked the widely-reported doom and gloom in the sector.

READ: JD surges as Christmas trading boosts earnings outlook

Fellow clothes retailers Quiz Plc (LON:QUIZ) and Next PLC (LON:NXT) both cut their guidance earlier this month, while online rival ASOS plc (LON:ASC) took a kicking in December after issuing a shock profit warning.

But JD said today (Monday) that it expects full-year profits to be “at the upper end” of forecasts after what it called a “consistently positive” performance across the all-important Black Friday and Christmas trading periods.

“To pull off solid like-for-like sales without the kind of heavy discounting others have resorted to is impressive; indeed something of a miracle in the current environment,” wrote analyst Neil Wilson.

So what has JD done to incubate itself from what billionaire Sports Direct International PLC (LON:SPD) boss Mike  Ashley described as the “worst November for retailers in living memory”?

JD sells what people want

Analysts are almost all in agreement: it’s the product.

JD has tapped in to the lucrative and seemingly resilient athleisure trend, and its exclusive deals with brands such as Nike make its stores the go-to shop for those in search of new trainers or joggers.

The FTSE 250 group has also spent a great deal of time and money making its stores more female-friendly, recently signing up edgy pop stars Anne-Marie and Ella Eyre to its growing list of ambassadors.

“If you’ve got the right product, shoppers will come to you whatever the weather,” said Shore Capital analyst Greg Lawless.

“JD has the right product, in the right place and when the customer wants it, and if you do that, you can make money.”’s Wilson agreed: “It just goes to show if you get the product offering and pricing right and tap into what consumers want, then there is still success to be found.”

Well-managed stock

The popularity of the products it is selling means the retailer doesn’t need to slash prices like some of its peers, which preserves margins and, therefore, profits.

Lawless explains using an analogy of a pyramid: “Selfridges gets the very top of that pyramid, but JD gets the next tranche down, while Sports Direct gets the bottom left-hand corner.

“Because these [second tranche] products are in such high demand, you don’t then need to discount. Other retailers have had too much product and the only way to entice people into the stores is by discounting, whereas JD clearly has a customer who wants their fashion product and is willing to pay full price for it.”

US the big opportunity and challenge

Another way to manage the fallout of Brexit Britain is to look abroad for growth, which JD did with the “transformational” £400mln of US chain Finish Line last September.

Bosses said they have been “encouraged” by the progress made across the pond so far, so much so that they are rebranding another 15 stores with the JD fascia over the next few months.

AJ Bell investment director thinks the US is one of, if not the, biggest opportunity for JD, although he acknowledges that it also presents one of the greatest challenges.

“The other key challenge for the company will be proving its acquisition of the US Finish Line business is not the step too far it is perceived to be in some quarters.

“Finish Line does give the company a foothold in a potentially huge market but it also a business which has been struggling badly for a number of years. The US has also proved to be a graveyard for many UK retailers’ ambitions in the past.”

Looks cheap versus peers

So where does all this leave JD in terms of valuation? Well, it still “looks cheap” compared to peers, says Shore Capital’s Greg Lawless, even after Monday’s share price jump.

“The company’s stock trades on a forward one year (year to January 2020) multiple of 13.0x PE and an EV/EBITDA multiple of 7.8x, which we believe is totally undemanding given the recent US acquisition and international expansion prospects,” the analyst wrote in a note to clients.

Lawless has the stock as a ‘buy’, even though the stock is currently valued at just shy of £4.5bn, leaving it within touching distance of the FTSE 100 as well as retail stalwart Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS).

JD shares gained 7.3% on Monday to sit at 425.4p, valuing the company at around £4.3bn.

Mon, 14 Jan 2019 16:20:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - JD Sports surges as strong Christmas trading boosts earnings outlook ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) shares surged in early trading Monday after strong Christmas trading meant the firm expected its full-year profits to be “at the upper end” of expectations.

In an update, the FTSE 250 sportswear retailer said that total sales growth for the 48 weeks to 5 January was up 15% across its global Sports Fashion fascias, while total like-for-like growth was more than 5%, including what the firm said was “a consistently positive” performance across the Black Friday and Christmas periods.

READ: JD Sports CFO Brian Small to leave at the end of the month

JD added that gross profit margins had been maintained at prior year levels as it continued with its policy “not to enter into short-term reactive discounting unnecessarily”, a trend that many struggling retailers engaged with over a difficult festive period.

“Given the well-publicised challenges within the wider UK retail market, we are pleased with this trading result which further demonstrates the robust foundations of our dynamic multibrand multichannel proposition across our core market and our capacity for further growth across an expanding geographical reach”, the company said.

In the second half of its fiscal year, the company said it had opened its first two stores in Thailand as well as its first five stores in the US.

While the group said it was too early to draw conclusions from its US performance, the initial performance gave the firm confidence to convert a further 15 Finish Line stores in the first half of 2019 after acquiring the US firm for US$558mln in March.

For the wider Finish Line business, JD said it was “encouraged” by the ongoing performance, which had delivered improvements in “both sales and margin” relative to the prior year.

The company also said the first phase of works to fit out a 352,000 square foot extension to its primary warehouse in Kingsway had been completed, with works to install automation equipment due to complete in Spring 2019.

Despite labour cost inefficiencies from the transition to the enlarged site, JD said it was confident that the group’s pre-tax profit for the full year would be “at the upper end of published market expectations”, which currently range between £325mln-£352mln.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD, said: "I am pleased with the continued progress of the Group both in terms of our performance in existing markets and the recent positive developments in the United States. We are confident that domestically and internationally, in stores and online, our unique and often exclusive sports fashion premium brand offer provides a solid foundation for future development.”

The results will grant some relief to investors after JD’s chief financial officer Brian Small left at the end of October after 15 years in the role and was replaced by Neil Greenhalgh, the company’s finance director who has been heavily involved in its international expansion.

READ: JD Sports delivers record first-half earnings despite tough UK retail market

JD has also bucked the trend of gloomy retail figures for other retailers over a slump in festive trading, with retailers such as Debenhams PLC (LON:DEB) and Halfords PLC (LON:HFD) suffering particularly badly.

READ: Tesco, Next and Ted Baker among the festive winners as high street survives Christmas - but only just

The sportswear firm, however, seems to be on a roll after delivering record-breaking earnings in the first half when pre-tax profits surged 19% to £121.9mln.

Brokers hail “excellent" update

In a note to clients, analysts at City broker Peel Hunt said the group had delivered a “quite frankly – excellent trading update, with LFL accelerating across the globe”.      

“The UK’s performance (inc online) is LFL positive, but the real eye-catchers are Europe (where in-store LFL is double-digit) and in the US, where LFL is c5% and gross margins are handily ahead. Forecasts must rise (held back a bit by some extra cost of the DC overhaul), and this is a great example of the fact that retail conditions are not impossible for a retailer with the right product and proximity to its customers.”

Analysts added that JD was their “top pick in the sector”, combining “a very strong core domestic business with high growth opportunities in Europe and a transformational acquisition in the US”.

The sentiment was echoed by analysts at fellow broker Shore Capital, which reiterated their ‘Buy’ rating on the stock saying the firm remained “a tightly managed company with good cash generation, international expansion and good growth prospects”.

“The shares have fallen 11% over the last three months and with this good news in tow we reiterate our BUY rating highlighting the growth-opportunities both internationally and in the UK that the Group can harness plus scope for rating expansion.”

JD Sports shares were up 10.4% at 437.3p.

Mon, 14 Jan 2019 09:35:00 +0000
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Statement ]]> Mon, 14 Jan 2019 07:00:04 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Mon, 17 Dec 2018 14:28:05 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Christmas Trading Statement Date ]]> Mon, 17 Dec 2018 13:05:20 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Wed, 31 Oct 2018 17:20:47 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:09:02 +0100 <![CDATA[News - JD Sports CFO Brian Small to leave at the end of the month ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) chief financial officer Brian Small is stepping down from the board at the end of October after 15 years in the role, the retailer said on Tuesday.

Small will be replaced by the company’s finance director, Neil Greenhalgh, who joined in 2004.

READ: JD Sports delivers record first-half earnings despite tough UK retail market

The sportswear retailer said Greenhalgh has been heavily involved in all aspects of its international expansion over the past 14 years and has been increasingly taking on many CFO tasks in recent years in anticipation of an orderly succession.

Chairman Peter Cowgill said: "I would like to thank Brian for his valuable contribution and support over the last 15 years at JD and we wish him well in his retirement. I would also like to welcome Neil to the board of JD.

"The board is delighted that a planned succession has been achieved. Neil has already made a substantial contribution to JD and his promotion to the board will enable him to contribute still further.''

Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:04:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Directorate Change ]]> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 12:18:19 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Tue, 09 Oct 2018 14:24:38 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Five reasons why JD is faring better than Footasylum ]]> After last week’s profit warning from Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT), investors would have been forgiven for wondering whether JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) might have also been affected by similar industry headwinds.

Their minds were put at ease when JD responded with a record set of half-year numbers on Tuesday.

READ: JD delivers record first-half

The ‘athleisure’ retailer, which sells trendy tops, hoodies and trainers, shrugged off any suggestion of a “more challenging” retail environment – Footasylum’s words – as pre-tax profits surged by a fifth to £121.9mln.

Revenue, boosted by a couple of recent overseas acquisitions, climbed by a third to £1.8bn.

First mover advantage

Despite selling similar clothes to the same audience, analysts reckon there a few key reasons why JD has outperformed while Footasylum has floundered. First and foremost is that JD, which is now closing in on a spot on the FTSE 100, is far bigger than its rival. Footasylum has 66 stores, whereas JD has just shy of 400 in the UK alone. So, if you’ve got £100 burning a hole in your pocket and you want some new trainers, the chances are you’re more likely to find a JD store wherever you are than a Footasylum.

Overseas earnings

JD is faring better than most in its home UK market, but even if it wasn’t, it still has a swathe of stores overseas which could bail it out.

The Finish Line business in the US, which JD bought earlier this year, contributed £4.8mln towards the group’s profit in the seven weeks since its acquisition and analysts believe that could be a "game changer" going forward.

READ: Footasylum has been a nice earner for founder’s kids

By contrast, Footasylum’s relative handful of stores are all dependant on UK consumers, which retailers well know are becoming increasingly in where they shop given the income squeeze of late.

Small brands can be found elsewhere

How Footasylum has typically overcome the size difference is through selling smaller brands that millennials liked, such as Gym King and Kings Will Dream.

Those are brands which Footasylum has stocked for years and helped to grow, but they can now be found elsewhere on sites such as Asos.

When Footasylum is competing with JD to sell more established brands such as Nike and Adidas, there is only ever likely to be one winner.

Store layouts

With shoppers’ habits starting to shift towards online, bricks and mortar stores are having to work harder than ever to get people through their stores.

JD has invested heavily into the layout of its stores, with analysts commending the company for its bright, clean shops as well as the shopping experience more generally.

Footasylum hasn’t quite got it right yet. It has scaled back its plans to open new stores, a move which analysts reckon is because they realised the shops it has and the ones it has been targeting are too small.

Bad buys

One of AIM-listed Footasylum’s biggest problems has been the stock it has purchased, with City analysts commenting that the firm’s buyers have made the “odd misselection”.

That has left Footasylum with a lot of clothes and trainers that it can’t shift, forcing it to slash prices and in turn killing margins.

More importantly, argue the number crunchers, is that old, cheap stock filling the shop floor rather than the latest lines is unlikely to draw people in.

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 15:35:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - JD Sports delivers record first-half earnings despite tough UK retail market ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) achieved record first-half earnings as the sportswear retailer’s international expansion led to a jump in revenues.

Profit before tax in the six months to August 4 came to £121.9mln, up 19% compared to the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 35% to £1.8bn with like-for-like sales up 3%, supported by the US$558mln acquisition of US athleticwear firm Finish Line earlier this year and the opening of new stores across Europe and the Asia Pacific.

The company delivered growth across all its regions, including the UK where bricks and mortar retailers have struggled against weak consumer confidence and online competition.

"This is another record result for our group demonstrating that our multibrand multichannel premium offer has resilient profitability in its core UK and Ireland market with capacity for continued growth across an increasing number of international markets,” said executive chairman Peter Cowgill.

"Against a backdrop of widely reported retail challenges in the UK, it is extremely reassuring that the profitability in the UK and Ireland Sports Fascias has been further enhanced.”

READ: JD Sports on track to deliver annual results in line with market forecasts, says chairman

The group declared an interim dividend of 0.27p per share, up 4% on the previous year. 

Turning to the second half, JD Sports said sales have continued at similar levels to the first half.

“We remain confident that we are well positioned to deliver an outturn in line with current market expectations which, including a part-year from Finish Line, range from £337mln to £345mln and we also remain encouraged by our prospects for future growth,” Cowgill said.

In mid-morning trading, JD shares were 0.5% higher at 489.90p.

It is possible to thrive on the high street

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown commented: ‘There’s not too many retailers on the UK high street who can boast a 50% rise in their share price over the last year, but that’s just the sweet spot JD Sports finds itself in.

“The retailer is now knocking on the door of the FTSE 100, and currently matches Marks & Spencer in terms of its equity market value.”

He added: “Expansion hasn’t come cheap, and that’s meant JD Sports has swung from having net cash of £222.7mln on the balance sheet, to being in debt to the tune of £85.1mln.

“That level of borrowing is well-covered by earnings though, and shareholders won’t mind the additional spend as long as it bears fruit.”

Khalaf concluded: “JD’s performance shows it’s possible to thrive on the UK high street, though future store openings in this country are likely to be limited. That means the retailer will be looking to digital and overseas sales, and possibly further acquisitions, to drive growth forward from here.”

 -- Adds share price, analyst comment --

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 07:29:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Half-year Report ]]> Tue, 11 Sep 2018 07:00:22 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Thu, 23 Aug 2018 15:39:42 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Fri, 17 Aug 2018 07:00:03 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Investor Day ]]> Wed, 04 Jul 2018 09:00:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Result of AGM ]]> Thu, 28 Jun 2018 14:50:42 +0100 <![CDATA[News - JD Sports on track to deliver annual results in line with market forecasts, says chairman ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) said it remains on track to deliver annual results in line with market expectations after delivering a record profit last year.  

In an annual general meeting statement, chairman Peter Cowgill said the company is encouraged about the progress the sportswear retailer has been making with its global expansion and is “excited about the opportunity ahead of us” following the acquisition of Finish Line in the US.

READ: JD Sports sprints higher as athleisure craze helps to drive record profits

The company has added a net 36 stores in the year to date, including 18 across Europe and 16 in the Asian Pacific region.

Earlier this year the group reported a 24% jump in pre-tax profits to £294.5mln (2017: £238.4mln) in the 12 months ended February 3.  Revenues increased to £3.16bn from £2.38bn, shrugging off the struggles facing many UK high street retailers.

"On 17 April 2018, the Group announced record results for the year ended 3 February 2018 with the Board also stating that it was satisfied with progress and remained confident about the prospects for the current financial year. This continues to be our view, “ Cowgill said in the Thursday statement.

He added: "The board considers that the group continues to be on track to deliver a result for the full year in line with consensus market expectations."

Thu, 28 Jun 2018 07:57:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - AGM Statement ]]> Thu, 28 Jun 2018 07:00:06 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Completion of acquisition of The Finish Line, Inc. ]]> Mon, 18 Jun 2018 13:45:53 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Result of General Meeting ]]> Fri, 15 Jun 2018 11:49:56 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Circular and Notice of General Meeting ]]> Wed, 30 May 2018 12:55:40 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Annual Report and Accounts and Notice of AGM ]]> Fri, 25 May 2018 15:15:00 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> Tue, 17 Apr 2018 07:00:05 +0100 <![CDATA[News - JD Sports sprints higher as athleisure craze helps to drive record profits ]]> Shares in JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD) sprinted higher on Tuesday after the sportswear retailer turned a record profit last year.

JD, like rival Footasylum PLC (LON:FOOT) and US-listed peer Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU), is benefiting from the ‘athleisure’ craze – people wearing jogging bottoms, trainers and hoodies not to go to the gym but as a casual fashion statement.

READ: JD Sports to buy US firm Finish Line for US$558mln as part of global expansion

It is one part of the UK retail industry that seems to be holding up at the moment, with several other high street chains struggling as cash-strapped shoppers either move online or pull back on spending altogether.

The FTSE 250 group saw pre-tax profits jump to £294.5mln (2017: £238.4mln) in the 12 months ended February 3 – a rise of 24%, although that figure is boosted by the addition of a few days in this year’s financial year.

That was on revenues of £3.16bn, almost £800mln more than the £2.38bn it recorded last year.

Expanding international presence

Like-for-like sales – an important metric for retailers which strips out the impact of new and closed stores – rose 3%, while online sales soared by a third as shoppers continue to do more of their shopping over the internet.

JD is also making its mark outside of its home UK market, adding 56 more stores to its European portfolio last year, and nine more in the Asia Pacific.

Its presence abroad will increase once again this year thanks to its recent acquisition of US athletic footwear and apparel retailer Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ:FINL) last month for US$558mln.

‘Excellent’ results

“This is an excellent result demonstrating our capacity for continuing growth in both existing and new markets, and the strength of our offer in store and online,” said executive chairman Peter Cowgill.

“The investments we have made over a number of years in developing our multichannel proposition and driving improved buying, merchandising and retail discipline have ultimately led to the creation of a world class sports fashion business which combines the best of physical and digital retail on an increasingly global scale.”

Cowgill added: “We are very encouraged by the progress that we are making internationally and we continue to look for further opportunities to bring our dynamic multichannel proposition to new markets around the world with the support of our key brands.”

JD shares rose 6.5% to 375.9p shortly after the opening bell in the UK.

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 03:28:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - JD Sports to buy US firm Finish Line for US$558mln as part of global expansion ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD. has agreed to buy US firm The Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ:FINL) for US$558mln as part of the sportswear retailer’s global expansion plan.

Finish Line, one of the largest retailers of premium multi-branded athletic footwear, apparel and accessories in the US, will receive US$13.50 per share in cash.

READ: JD Sports lifts profit forecast again after strong second-half trading

JD Sports expects the acquisition will make a small incremental positive contribution to its results and earnings per share in the year to 2 Februar 2019.

It said the acquisition offers the company “the opportunity to expand its market leading elevated proposition into the most significant global market”.

“It immediately gains the benefit of a significant physical and online retail presence and increases the importance of the Company to its major international brand partners,” the group added.

JD Sports will fund the deal through a revolving credit facility and a new asset-backed lending facility secured against Finish Line’s inventory and receivables.

Finish Line trades from 556 of its own branded retail stores across 44 US states and Puerto Rico. It also operates 375 branded and 188 unbranded concessions within Macy’s stores as the department store chain’s exclusive retailer of athletic shoes, both in store and online.

JD Sports has been expanding overseas in recent years and has overtaken Sports Direct PLC (LON:SPD) as Britain’s leading sportswear retailer, much to the chagrin of Mike Ashley.

Ashley, the founder and chief executive Sports Direct, had threatened to “finish off” his main rival JD Sports at a meeting with representatives from the City in 2011.

READ: Mike Ashley's Sports Direct slumps as first half profits and UK sales drop

However, JD Sports has flourished by targeting younger, more style-conscious customers while Sports Direct has been hit by a series of scandals over working practices and lower sales at  UK stores amid a tough retail market.

In late morning trading, shares in JD Sports were 2.8% higher at 345.7p.

 -- Adds share price --

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 08:58:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Proposed Acquisition of The Finish Line, Inc. ]]> Mon, 26 Mar 2018 07:00:05 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Formal completion of JD's Sport Zone acquisition ]]> Thu, 01 Feb 2018 07:00:11 +0000 <![CDATA[News - JD Sports lifts profit forecast again after strong second-half trading ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) raised its annual profit forecast for the second time in four months following a strong performance in the second half.

The sportswear retailer, whose main rival is Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International plc (LON:SPD), said it expects group profit before tax for the year to February 3 to reach £300mln, ahead of the £270mln to £295mln range expected by analysts.  In September, the company had said it expects pre-tax profit to hit the top end of market expectations from £268mln to £290mln.

Online sales and overseas expansion boosts second half

In the second half, like-for-like sales growth remained at about 3% despite “challenging comparatives” as online sales increased and the group continued its overseas expansion.

"I am delighted to report that we have maintained our positive performance from the first half of the year which continues to demonstrate the capability and strength of our highly differentiated multichannel proposition,” said executive chairman Peter Cowgill.

Shares jumped 6.3% to 388p in morning trading. 

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Performance was no means as stellar as it has been in recent times, but then conditions are tough on the high street right now, thanks to the financial pressure on the UK consumer. JD Sports was probably insulated to some extent by its purchase of Go Outdoors, as the December cold snap prompted shoppers to stock up on winter warmers."

JD Sports down with the kids

Henry Croft, research analyst at Accendo Markets, said the company's stores appeal to younger generations, which has helped it outperform sector peers. The group's competitors are more geared towards a slightly older market, perhaps due to their increasingly cash-conscious disposition in the face of subdued wage growth and high levels of inflation, he said.

"JD’s strong online platform likely also helps appeal to the digital-age shopper, beating out high street stalwarts whose hard to navigate websites frequently feel like a smorgasbord of sellers," Croft said.

"Having over 850,000 Instagram followers is also sure to help the appeal to the smart phone generation."

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:22:00 +0000
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Update ]]> Tue, 16 Jan 2018 07:00:02 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Result of General Meeting ]]> Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:27:27 +0100 <![CDATA[News - JD set to expand into South Korea as it inks joint venture deal ]]> JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) is set to move into the South Korean market after it inked a joint venture agreement with Shoemarker Inc. that will see it invest in the Hot-T fascia brand.

As part of the deal, JD has taken an initial 15% stake in Hot-T – which is owned by Shoemarker – for £5.5mln and has the option to acquire another 35% which it expects to do at the end of the year.

READ: JD Sports posts record first half profits, expects full-year results at top of market expectations

The plan is for the 23 Hot-T stores along with the website to be run by the existing management team but to re-fascia them as JD.

"We are delighted to be entering into this JV which gives JD the opportunity to enter a new market of over 50 million people with a proven operator,” said JD executive chairman Peter Gowgill.

“This JV will further strengthen JD's global presence.”

JD shares opened 0.3%, or 1p, higher at 373.1p.

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 08:02:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Investment in Joint Venture in South Korea ]]> Fri, 15 Sep 2017 07:00:03 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Publication of Circular and Notice of GM ]]> Thu, 14 Sep 2017 17:55:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Conditional combination with Sport Zone ]]> Thu, 14 Sep 2017 07:00:06 +0100 <![CDATA[News - JD Sports posts record first half profits, expects full-year results at top of market expectations ]]> 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.

READ: JD Sports out of fashion as it hints at margin pressures

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.

Shares strong

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.”

 -- Adds share price, broker comment --

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:58:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Half-year Report ]]> Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:00:07 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Thu, 07 Sep 2017 16:32:09 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:00:05 +0100