RNS Number : 2182V
JD Sports Fashion Plc
10 January 2013
10 January 2013
JD SPORTS FASHION PLC
CHRISTMAS TRADING STATEMENT
JD Sports Fashion Plc (the 'Group'), the leading retailer and distributor of branded sportswear, fashionwear and outdoor clothing and equipment, today announces an update on performance following the Christmas trading period.
· Another record Christmas trading period for our core UK and Ireland Sports Fascias in which like for like sales for the seven week period ended 5 January were up 3.2%.
· Margin in the core UK and Ireland Sports and Fashion Fascias has strengthened and is now close to last year's levels cumulatively.
· Earnings still within the range of market expectations after first year losses in Blacks.
We are pleased to report that trading in our main business, the core UK and Ireland JD Sports Fascias, has remained very robust overall through the Christmas period with like for like sales for the seven week period ended 5 January 2013 up 3.2% and margin for the year to date has improved to close to the prior year's level. After 49 weeks cumulative like for like sales for these fascias are up 2.4%. This is expected to result in the headline earnings of the Sports Fascias marginally exceeding those of last year even after the costs of consolidating our warehousing in Rochdale. We remain satisfied that prospects for profitable development of both our core UK and Ireland and our international Sports Fascias remain very positive.
The core Fashion Fascias (Bank and Scotts), which represent a relatively small share of group sales, saw like for like sales in the same seven week period decline by 7.9% (49 weeks -3.9%). Margin for the year to date has also been maintained close to prior year level and Bank will now only breakeven in the year. Management is now very focussed on improving the performance in this business.
Having acquired Blacks and Millets out of administration only 12 months ago, the rationalisation programme is now firmly underway. Whilst the performance in the Outdoor Fascias has been disappointing in the Christmas period, this was the result of the proposition bought into by the previous management team. All the key players in that team have been replaced very recently. However, due to purchase order lead times, there will be some delay before the full benefits of this will be realised. We will of course be concentrating on delivering a substantial improvement in trading throughout 2013. The size and fascia and location structure of the store portfolio continues to be optimised as performance is monitored and lease negotiations progress. There are currently 176 stores still in the portfolio. The seven full store refurbishments carried out to date have been well received by key brands and have produced encouraging results overall. The outlook for sales improvement should now be positive instore and online. Next year will also see the benefit of cost reductions in various areas of the business and we anticipate that losses will reduce substantially as the new year progresses.
After factoring in the significant level of losses in Outdoor, which the Board does not expect to recur, the group's year end results are likely to be towards the lower end of current market expectations for headline profit before tax and exceptional items which is currently £60 million.
Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman, commented: "Christmas 2012 has seen another very robust performance from our core Sports Fascias. Both international development in the Sports Fascias and multichannel development throughout the Group represent significant continuing growth opportunities. In addition, whilst the performance of Outdoor has been disappointing, we remain confident that this business will produce future returns. As evidenced by results throughout recent years of considerable change, the core of our retail group remains very strong. Trading in recent weeks has been the strongest we have seen for some time."
The Group will make its Preliminary Results Announcement for the 53 weeks ending 2 February 2013 on 17 April 2013.
JD Sports Fashion Plc Tel: 0161 767 1620
Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman
Barry Bown, Chief Executive
Brian Small, Finance Director
MHP Communications Tel: 0203 128 8100
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