Sportswear chain JJB Sports, still reeling from the death of its CEO Duncan Sharpe, on Wednesday reported a 16.8 per cent year-on-year slide in first-half pre-tax profit to £39.3 million.

The Wigan-based operator of more than 430 stores said in a statement same-store sales in the core JJB business rose 0.1 per cent in the first half and slipped 1.1 per cent in the 10 weeks since August 1.

The firm’s performance was not helped by its April acquisition of discount clothing chain TJ Hughes. Excluding Hughes, JJB said its turnover climbed 4.2 per cent in the first half to £362.5m.

Chairman David Whelan said in a news release that tough trading conditions "may well become more difficult depending upon the general economic climate".