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JD Sports eyes strong profit recovery after smooth US expansion

JD is “encouraged” with trading so far this year and resumed dividend payments

JD Sports Fashion PLC - JD Sports eyes strong profits recovery after boasting smooth US expansion

JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.) said headline profit before tax for the current financial year is forecast to come in at £475-500mln as it continues to expand internationally.

The sum would be a jump of up to 16% from the £421mln delivered in the year to January 2021 and £438mln for the previous period.

READ: JD Sports snaps up controlling stake in Polish sportswear retailer MIG

The sneakers seller has resumed dividends, proposing a final distribution of 1.44p per share, thanks to strong performance in the US.

The company reported “exceptional” trading in the Finish Line and JD segments, due in part to the US Government stimulus boosting consumer confidence.

The first flagship store for JD opened in Times Square, New York with a positive reaction from customers and international brand partners, the FTSE 100 group said.

A further 37 former Finish Line stores were converted to JD, with 49 stores trading as JD at the end of the financial year.

JD has also acquired Shore Palace in California and DTLR in Maryland which are expected to strengthen its presence on the two coasts.

Development in other markets continues to progress “positively”, although the number of new stores slowed temporarily because of restrictions on construction works.

Stores in England and Wales re-opened on Monday, but the athleisure retailer did not provide any commentary. US shops have mostly traded free from Coronavirus (COVID-19) - related restrictions in the new financial year to date.

JD is “encouraged” with trading so far, with levels of sales retention in those markets which have experienced closures running slightly ahead of those in Spring 2020.

In the year to January 30, revenue was flat at £6.1mln while profit before tax dipped 4% to £421mln.

Net cash at period-end was £795mln after spending £380mln in acquisitions and deferring taxes and rent for £125mln.

However, the fashion designer is making “significant” investments in logistics to comply with social distancing measures and paying duties arising from Brexit.

Analysts at house broker Peel Hunt bumped up the target price to 1,050p from 1,000p following a "remarkable year in every sense".

"Whilst external conditions were at times unplayable, JD dug in and now leaves the year unbowed in a stronger overall position," they commented.

"As we leave COVID-19 behind us, JD is now in an enviable position, with strong relationships with the key brands and cash to spend on acquisitions as required."

Shares rose 2% to 932p on Tuesday morning.

--Adds analyst comment, shares--

Quick facts: JD Sports Fashion PLC

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Price: 1101 GBX

Market Cap: £11.36 billion

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