JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill

JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill

JD Sports' executive chairman attributed the company's impressive rise in profits to growing market share allied with a targeted product range, in an interview with just-style.

The group posted a growth in profit before tax and exceptional items yesterday (13 April) of 26% to GBP67.4m (US$92m), up from GBP53.6m in 2009.

Total revenue increased by GBP98.9m to GBP769.8m, up from GBP671m last year, including GBP48.1m from acquired businesses.

"What has got to be understood is that we look for the more style-conscious, younger consumer and we supply them with brands they can't buy elsewhere," JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill told just-style.

"We get the better segments first and therefore we are more on-trend."

Cowgill conceded that "mathematically it is hard" to replicate the impressive 26% growth, but pointed to the five years of continual growth JD Sports has enjoyed.

"We never expect anything because that builds complacency but we are endeavouring to perform well in all categories - menswear and juniors had a great year," said Cowgill.

And the JD Sports executive chairman remained realistic in the face of challenging economic conditions. "We have to say the tide is still slightly against with [UK] VAT uncertain and financial uncertainty," he said, adding he was focusing on ensuring the "micro-zone" was growing.

JD Sports has also dipped its toe into the French market with the acquisition of Chausport for GBP7.9m last year and Cowgill pronounces himself satisfied with the deal, although it is still in a transition period.

"We are pleased with the way the French have performed - it is work in progress," he said. "It has done what it was supposed to which has provided us with a solid platform.

"It [Chausport] is mainly footwear stores, so we are more looking at the infrastructure and perhaps using it as a platform for JD Sports in city centres and stronger urban areas.

And Cowgill maintained his company's "financially robust" position meant opportunities were coming JD Sports' way.

"We are not looking, but if the right opportunity became available we would look at that," he said.