• Christmas period like-for-like sales up 1.6%
  • Gross margin in line with last year
  • Forecasts FY result in line with expectations

Retailer JD Sports Fashion believes its full-year result will meet current expectations, despite its recent GBP20m (US$31m) acquisition of Blacks Leisure.

Updating on Christmas trading, JD Sports said its core like-for-like sales for the five weeks to 7 January were up 1.6%, or 0.1% excluding VAT, with sports shops up 2.3% and fashion outlets down 0.7%.

The UK retailer said gross profit margins were broadly in line with the prior year.

Outside JD Sports’ core business, the company said its Chausport division had performed well, but Champion had been impacted by the “exceptionally difficult” economic situation in Ireland, although this was offset by improving margins.

Sprinter had shown a slight sales decline, but the company said it was happy with the overall direction of the business and anticipated opening its first JD stores in Spain in the first half of 2012.

JD Sports admitted that its recent acquisition out of administration of the Blacks outdoor retail business would reduce earnings in the current year, but added that these should still be within current expectations.

The company will make its preliminary results announcement on 28 January.