Sporting goods firm JD Sports has bolstered profit during the first half of the year, allowing it to open new stores and make acquisitions.

The company's profit before tax and exceptional items increased by 14.5% to GBP14.2m (US$23.2m).

JD reported an 8.4% revenue increase for the 26 weeks ended 1 August 2009.

Sales rose by 0.7% on a like for like basis, with Sports Fascias climbing 0.3% and Fashion Fascias up 3.1%.

Gross margin maintained at 48.2% excluding newly acquired businesses. The company acquired Chausport, the French retailer of sports footwear, Kooga Rugby Limited and Canterbury Europe Limited during the first half.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD, said: "The positive performance of the group has enabled us to continue with our substantial store refurbishment programme and to open five new Sports stores and five new Fashion stores.

"It also means that we are able to continue to look positively at the many acquisition opportunities available in our retail markets and related areas as they arise."

The company also said that like-for-like sales in the six weeks since the period end rose by 0.8%.

Sports Retail was up by 1.3% but Fashion Retail was down by 2.4%.

Click here to view the full financial release by JD Sports.