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JD Sports’ profits hit record high, buys swimming pool brand as physical expansion continues

JD Sports says its businesses benefited from the Covid-19 stimulus spending in the US. Image courtesy of JD Sports

Fashion sports retailers JD Sports has logged a pre-tax profit of £947.2m for the year to January 2022, more than double its previous, pre-pandemic record of £438.8m in the year to January 2020.

Much of the growth has been generated by if sports fashion lines, driven by the continued consumer embrace of athleisurewear. The company’s outdoor segment also returned to profitability, thanks to increased demand from holidaymakers and a growing embrace of the outdoors for mental health and wellbeing, says the company.

Helen Ashton, interim chair of JD Sports, said: “This was another period of outstanding progress with the group delivering a record headline profit before tax and exceptional items of £947.2 million, more than double the previous record of £438.8 million set in the period to 1 February 2020, which was the last completed financial year prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. This result demonstrates our capacity for growth in both existing and new markets, and the strength of our global proposition and consumer engagement in store and online.”

Despite warning of the impact of economic headwinds currently buffeting the UK, JD Sports remains upbeat about the current year, saying that it expects its full year 2022 results to be in line with the record profits seen in 2021.

Ashton adds: “Whilst we are encouraged by the resilient nature of the consumer demand in the current year to date, we remain conscious of the headwinds that prevail at this time including the general global macro-economic and geopolitical situation.”

JD Sports also said that its plan to recruit a new chief executive is ongoing and that a number high calibre candidates are being considered. It is also currently working to recruit a new chair.

Expansion going swimmingly

The retailer has also announced that it has acquired a 60% stake in Total Swimming Group, founded by Olympic swimmers Steve Parry, Rebecca Adlington and Adrian Turner.

The company was founded to make swimming more accessible, especially to children, and turned over £8.6m in 2021. The move continues the retailers expansion into physical sports locations including gyms and pools.

JD Sports has purchased its stake for an £11.1m cash consideration, with a maximum of £4m of deferred consideration “contingent upon future performance criteria and certain closing conditions”.

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