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Online plays its part in helping JD Sports lift turnover and profits

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JD Sports Fashion today said online played a part in delivering fast growth in sales and profits in the first half of the year.

Reporting results for the 26 weeks to August 2, the sports fashion and equipment retailer said sports sales had been strong both in the UK and in Europe, with operating profits of £34.8m, up from £26.1m at the same time last year, while its outdoor business had shown “positive progress,” as operating losses reduced to £5.6m, from £8.9m last time. Fashion, however was disappointing, with operating losses of £8.2m, up from £6.8m last time.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said in his half-year statement: “The management team believe that the initiatives they have embarked upon during the period to boost online sales, improve merchandise management and reduce onerous property costs have provided the framework to deliver an improved second half performance. We are also reducing the costs in the business both in stores and centrally wherever possible.”

In the half-year, revenues grew by 27% to £721.4m, while pre-tax profits grew by 170% to £16.4m.

JD Sports now has country-specific JD websites in the markets where it sells through stores, enabling it, it says, to “give the customer in these territories a truly multichannel retail experience.”

An Ultimate Outdoors website and store in Preston aims to be “the destination of choice for any outdoor consumer.” JD Sports has also brought digital technology into its stores, including its flagship Trafford Centre store, refurbished ahead of reopening in August. “We believe that this store is an important step forward for our already high standards of visual merchandising and retail theatre and in our embracing of the latest multichannel technology,” said Cowgill. Kiosks in smaller stores give customers access to a wider range of stock beyond that held on site.

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