JD Sport has welcomed “record” annual figures as it reported a 30% increase in revenue for the full-year period ended 1 February 2020.
The retailer recorded revenues of £6.1bn, up from £4.7bn the year prior. It also reported “strong” total like-for-like sales growth of 12% in its global sports fashion fascias, including “highly encouraging” growth of more than 10% in its core UK and Republic of Ireland business.
Meanwhile, group EBITDA increased by 28% to £624m, up from £488m the year prior, while profit before tax increased by more than £110m to £465.6m.
Nonetheless, the group warned that the pandemic “continues to affect” its commercial operations, and will have a material impact on its full-year results for the period ended 30 January 2021.
By 23 March, the retailer had closed its entire retail estate across 14 countries, though online trading delivered a “very resilient performance” during the closure period.
Since the easing of lockdown restrictions across the world, the group reported weaker initial footfall in shopping centres, but noted this was partially offset by a stronger conversion with consumers “less inclined to browse”.
It added that looking ahead, there is “inevitably considerable uncertainty” as to what the effect of the pandemic will be on consumer behaviour and footfall, with future store investments “highly dependent on rental realism and lease flexibility”.
Peter Cowgill, executive chairman said: “Whilst COVID-19 has constrained our short term progress, it is important that we do not lose sight of the core retail standards and commercial disciplines which have underpinned our longer term growth to date.
“We were encouraged by the continued positive trading in the early weeks of the year prior to the emergence of COVID-19 and we firmly believe that we are well placed to regain our previous momentum.”
He added: “Looking longer term, there is inevitably considerable uncertainty as to what the effect of COVID-19 will be on consumer behaviour and footfall with future store investments highly dependent on rental realism and lease flexibility.
“Ultimately, however, we remain confident that we have a market leading multi-channel proposition which has the necessary flexibility and agility to prosper within a retail environment that may see profound and permanent structural change.”