• H1 pre-tax profit GBP6.1m, up from GBP2.9m
  • Revenue up 2% to GBP567.4m
  • UK/Ireland like-for-like sales up 5.8%

Retail group JD Sports Fashion recorded a robust rise in first-half profits, driven by a strong performance from the company’s sporting goods stores.

Like-for-like sales in the company’s sports shops was up 7.5% in the six months to 3 August, while its fashion stores posted like-for-likes down 2.2%.

Total revenues for the UK business’s sporting fascias rose 11.2% and fashion revenues increased by 8.8%, but outdoor retail – the company’s Blacks and Millets outlets – slumped by 17.2%, with margins impacted by stock clearances and shortages of own brand items.

Company executive chairman Peter Cowgill said robust trading in sports stores had continued since the period end, but fashion outlets had proven “more difficult”, with UK and Ireland sports and fashion fascias’ like-for-like sales up 2.8% in the five weeks to 7 September.

He added: “The strong overall result in the first half has been driven by a record performance in our core sports fascias in the UK.

“This business continues to provide the group with a very solid platform for group profitability and future cash generation.

“We are also pleased with the continued evolution of the JD fascia in mainland Europe.”

Greg Bromley, consultant at analyst Conlumino, described the figures as “a good set of results”, but warned: “However, we believe the group will have to work harder on improving its outdoor arm to reverse continued losses, and prevent it bringing down overall trading performance.”