JD Sports stays strong as customers shift to its webstores
JD Sports Fashion seems to have had a good financial year so far and festive trading period, despite the “backdrop of further forced temporary store closures" in many global territories.
The company, best known for its eponymous chain and also its US Finish Line business, said demand “has remained robust throughout the second half, including in the key months of November and December”.
Its total revenues for the 22 weeks to January 2 (excluding acquisitions) were more than 5% ahead of the prior year “as consumers readily switched between physical and digital channels”.
And it all means the company now expects pre-tax profit for the year to January 30 “will be significantly ahead of the current market expectations, which average approximately £295 million”. Its new forecast figure? £400 million.
In a world in which simply staying in profit is seen to be an achievement, beating already-high expectations is a real testament to the underlying strength both of the company and the product categories it sells.
That said, the first quarter of the next financial year from February is likely to be heavily affected by the pandemic.
“Whilst we are confident that we have the proposition to continue to attract consumers throughout this period, the process to scale down activity in stores and scale up the digital channels, often at extremely short notice, presents significant challenges,” the group said.
It believes most of its UK stores will be shut until at least Easter (early April) and closures in other countries "are possible at any time". But it still thinks its FY21/22 pre-tax profit should be 5% to 10% ahead of the current year's figure.
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