JD Sports continues to prosper through heightened restrictions

Following today’s release of JD Sports figures for the 22 weeks ending 2 January 2021;

Alex Hardy, Associate Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, comments:

“Continued demand for athleisure, as well as a strong online proposition, has driven l-f-l revenue growth of over 5% for JD Sports in the 22 week period to 2 January 2021, compared to last year. These results are particularly impressive given that there were widespread store closures throughout November and December, with the Group claiming that despite this, demand remained robust in these months. This improved performance throughout H2 FY2020/21 has allowed the Group to outline anticipated headline profit before tax for the full year of at least £400m, significantly greater than current market expectations of around £295m, with the retailer’s share price rising 4.7% in early morning trading as a result.

“A combination of a young core consumer base, who are more accustomed to online shopping, and a focus on sportswear and loungewear, has proven to be a fruitful strategy for JD Sports throughout the pandemic. As the situation worsened towards the end of 2020, with no imminent sign of improvement, consumers continued to invest in athleisure, and this is likely to still be the case in early 2021 given the lockdown now in place. That the retailer has successfully competed with online pureplays such as ASOS to capture this demand is a testament to its online proposition. JD’s mobile app is particularly engaging, with integrated social media content and an in-store mode, which makes the physical shopping process more seamless in a time where shopping is largely mission-based, while its JDX Unlimited delivery saver scheme has driven customer loyalty and enabled easy, affordable online consumption.

JD Sports remains wary for the coming year as COVID-19 hurdles will continue especially in the first half, with UK stores expected to remain closed until at least Easter, and international closures also possible at any time. However, the Group still estimates headline profit before tax growth of 5% to 10% in FY2021/22. International expansion continues to be a priority for JD, and in December it acquired US retailer Shoe Palace, which will accelerate its rapid growth within this market even further. The overturning of the CMA’s decision to prohibit the acquisition of Footasylum in November will have also provided a boost for the Group, with the takeover now able to progress.”

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