JD Sports cautious on outlook despite profit growth

April 13 - British sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion said it was extremely cautious about the future despite bucking the general gloom on the high street to post a 21 percent rise in year profit.

JD Sports
Men and women can shop for Adidas and many other brands at JD Sports

The firm, which trades as JD Sports, Size, Bank, Scotts and Chausport, said on Wednesday it made an underlying pretax profit of 81.6 million pounds ($132.7 million) for the year to end-January.

That compares with analysts' average forecast of 79.3 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data, and 67.4 million pounds made in 2009-10.

Sales increased by 14.8 percent to 883.7 million pounds, with sales at stores open over a year up 3.1 percent, driven by strong demand for external brands such as Adidas and Nike and the firm's own brands such as Mckenzie and Carbrini.

However it warned that despite the strong trading it was still worried about the impact tax rises and public spending cuts would have on the consumer.

"The retail environment has recently been significantly impacted by adverse fiscal changes in addition to the multiple current economic pressures," Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill said.

"Against that background, therefore, it is inevitable that the board is extremely cautious in its outlook, particularly when the profits achieved for the year to 29 January 2011 are effectively rebased purely as a result of the impact of increased VAT."

JD Sports, which last month decided against bidding for struggling rival JJB Sports, is paying a total dividend of 23 pence, up 28 percent.

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