viewJD Sports Fashion PLC

JD Sports gets a spring in its step following strong trading and store expansion

"Encouraging" sales in its UK and international markets, combined with 29 new stores, meant the retailer expected its full-year profits to be "at least" in line with market estimates

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Peel Hunt said JD's sales in the UK were "impressive" given the difficult consumer market

Shares in retailer JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) jumped on Wednesday after the clothing chain delivered news of strong trading and plans for more growth in its store estate.

In a trading statement to be delivered at its AGM, the FTSE 100-listed firm said like-for-like (LFL) sales growth in the current year to date has been “encouraging” both in its UK and international markets.

READ: Billion-pound Finish Line boost spurs JD Sports to record annual profit

The company also said that it had expanded its global store estate with a net increase of 29 stores in the period ending 29 June.

The expansion was mainly concentrated in Europe, with a net increase of 18 stores in the region, as well as a net five new stores added in the Asia Pacific region with additional openings in Malaysia and Australia.

The group also opened its sixth store in the US after converting a Finish Line store at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, adding that they had been “encouraged” by developments in the market to date.

As a result, JD said it was “on track” to deliver a headline pre-tax profit for the full year that was “at least equal” to current market expectations.

House broker hikes target price

In a note to clients, analysts at ‘house' broker Peel Hunt upped their target price for JD to 650p from 580p and reiterated their ‘buy’ rating on the stock, saying the firm should be classed as a “top drawer global growth vehicle”.

The broker's analysts added that despite a difficult UK consumer environment, the firm’s in-store LFLs had remained positive, which was “highly impressive”, while the fact that JD has managed to keep its LFLs broadly unchanged from the second half of the previous year was a “stellar effort”.

Meanwhile, analysts at Shore Capital were similarly upbeat, reiterating their 'buy’ rating on the stock saying the business deserved to trade on a “premium rating” given its international growth prospects. 

JD shares were 3.3% higher at 622.1p in early morning deals.

Quick facts: JD Sports Fashion PLC

Price: 752.8 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £7.33 billion

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