JD Sports finance director Peter Cowgill has resigned, the company announced today. He is to leave within the next three months. The company also revealed a sharp rise in interim sales and profits.

Mr Cowgill said the UK sports and leisure group was performing well and the time was right to move on. "This is a suitable opportunity to consider what's out there," he said. He said that has been approached by three companies in the past six months, but declined to say where he would go after leaving JD Sports.

In October, the group announced the appointment of Barry Brown as chief executive. He replaced David Patrick who left in January by mutual agreement.

Company shares were up nine per cent, or 16-1/2p, at 190p in mid-morning trading in London.