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JD Sports looks to a multichannel future

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JD Sports Fashion invested “significantly” in multichannel services over the last year, as it looks to develop its expanding business for the future.

The retailer, which in January bought outdoor leisure equipment retailer Blacks out of administration for £20m, today announced its results for the full year to January 28.

Sales rose by 19.9% in the year, compared to the previous year, to £1.06bn, while pre-tax profits before exceptionals came in at £75.96m, down by 6.9% on last year despite a £2.2m loss from the newly-acquired Blacks business. However exceptional costs of £9.7m, which included the £3.5m cost of redundancies and restructuring in the Blacks business, pulled down bottom-line pre-tax profits to £67.4m, down by 14.2% on last year.

As well as buying Blacks, the company bought Champion Sports of Ireland and Sprinter of Spain, while opening new JD Sports stores in France and Spain.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said that following the Blacks acquisition the group was now a retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor products, with a distribution business operating alongside. “During the period, we have invested significantly in brands, businesses, multichannel and other infrastructure to strengthen the platform for future development of the group,” he said.

Blacks had been bought for its similarities to the JD business, he said, with premium brands selling alongside relevant own branded equipment. “We believe that Blacks needs to concentrate on the traditional core strengths of its branded and own brand outdoor offer and re-establish its market-leading authority through a much reduced store base, a strong multichannel offer and a more appropriate central cost structure.”

JD Sports also runs online business Getthelabel.com, which it said was still loss-making after two years of trading, to the tune of £1.5m, although sales were up by 58% during the year. “This is not unusual in this phase of the development of a young multichannel business,” said the JD Sports statement. “However, we anticipate further significant growth this year and would anticipate that the losses in the online business will at least be substantially reduced.”

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