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John David Group (JD.)

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Wednesday 14 January, 2004

John David Group

Christmas Trading Statement

John David Group (The) PLC
14 January 2004

                                                                 14 January 2004

                            THE JOHN DAVID GROUP PLC
                          CHRISTMAS TRADING STATEMENT

Since The John David Group PLC ('JD', the 'Company' or the 'Group') reported its
interim results on 9 October 2003, trading results have continued to improve
against the equivalent prior year period.

JD has experienced three very distinct phases in the eight week Christmas
trading period to 3 January 2004:

-        a strong performance in November at least partially attributable to the
         Muslim festival of Eid occurring then rather than in December as it did 
         in 2002;

-        a disappointing first three weeks in December in line with the
         published retail footfall surveys showing lower than expected activity 
         on the high street; and

-        a strong final few days before Christmas followed by a very strong sale
         period starting on Boxing Day.

Overall in the eight week period to 3 January 2004, JD has achieved the
following:

-        a 2.1 % increase in actual sales over the prior year

-        a 3.7% increase in like for like sales over the prior year

-        a 0.6% increase in gross margin over the prior year though less than
         the expected increase.

Whilst gross margins have improved over last year in the period, the fact that
the full Christmas boost in sales came later than anticipated, and was more
skewed to the sale period, has led to a lower than expected margin being
achieved over the full period. Given the above and quiet trading in the last few
days, the Group result for the year ending 31 January 2004 is unlikely to exceed
the low end of market forecasts.

During the period since October, we have made further substantial progress in
delivering our strategic plan to concentrate on fewer fascias (JD, Nike, Open,
Size? and Athleisure).  The store closure plan is proceeding ahead of schedule
and almost 40 underperforming stores will have been closed and disposed of since
1 February 2003, the start of the current financial year.

Following the appointment of Roger Best as Executive Chairman, and now that the
business turnaround is well underway, John Wardle and David Makin, the
co-founders of the Company, have decided to relinquish their remaining executive
functions. They now become non-executive directors of the Group.

John Wardle commented: 'David and I are both proud of what the many years' of
hard work have achieved at JD. The time is now right both from the business'
point of view and our own to take the decision to step down from our executive
roles'.

Roger Best, Executive Chairman, said: 'Largely due to John and David's efforts,
JD is one of the UK's retail success stories and, with the plans that we have in
place, I am confident we will take the Group to new heights. The positive
Christmas trading period just ended is a key milestone.'

Enquiries to:

The John David Group Plc                                      0161 767 1000
Roger Best (Executive Chairman)
Brian Small (Finance Director)

Hogarth Partnership Limited                                   0207 357 9477
Andrew Jaques
Tom Leatherbarrow



                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange