U.K.-Based Retailer JD Sports Reports 41% Jump In Sales to $1.3B
U.K.-based retailer JD Sports "declared that reports of the death of the so-called athleisure trend have been greatly exaggerated" after the company reported a 41% "jump in sales and boosted profit expectations to the top of forecasts," according to Ashley Armstrong of the London TELEGRAPH. Investors in the £3.6B ($4.8B) brand "had been spooked by a sharp drop in sales" at rival Foot Locker last month. This prompted some analysts to suggest the "abrupt halt in sales growth was a sure sign" that "athleisure is over." JD Sports Exec Chair Peter Cowgill said that there were "no signs that demand for athleisurewear was fading and shrugged off the comparisons" between JD and Foot Locker by highlighting that the U.S. company "blamed the lack of new trainer models during the quarter from Nike and Adidas, rather than softening customer demand." Cowgill added, "I don't think this is negative for the long term at all." JD Sports reported a 41% rise in sales to £1.3B ($1.7B) during the six months to the end of July while pre-tax profits also "soared by a third to a record" £102.7M ($136.4M). Sales were also "boosted by the opening of 35 new JD Sports shops during the period" and the company plans to "open one new shop a week across mainland Europe" (TELEGRAPH, 9/12). In London, Deirdre Hipwell reported JD Sports said that its "brand influence" had increased globally. By the end of July, it had 23 more stores across mainland Europe, had entered the Australian market and had opened additional shops in Malaysia. The company added that it expected full-year profits to be toward the "upper end of its current range" of between £268M ($356M) and £290M ($385.2M), suggesting that "the momentum is being sustained in the second half" (LONDON TIMES, 9/12).