JD Sports has increased its full-year profit outlook to “no less than” £550m, compared to £324m the previous year, after a period of solid trading since shops reopened after lockdown.
In a trading update, JD Sports said business in the UK has been “particularly encouraging” following the retailer’s trading boost and resilient online sales performance.
Furthermore, the sportswear giant also confirmed it plans to split Peter Cowgill’s role of executive chairman and chief executive before the company’s next AGM, with JD Sports set to start the recruitment process shortly.
Following the spike in Covid-19 cases from the Delta variant, JD Sports said its core customer base has been affected and it will cautiously wait before handing back any government furlough support until the crisis is completely resolved.
In a statement, the company said: “We are cognisant that the retention of sales in the period when the stores were closed combined with the positive trading in the immediate period after reopening did help to offset the negative financial impacts associated with the period of temporary closures.
“However, we must also acknowledge that the uncertainty surrounding Covid has not yet fully passed and the current resurgence in infection rates is affecting our core customer demographic more than was the case previously.”
It added: “Accordingly, we will consider repaying government support on payroll costs which we have received whilst stores have been temporarily closed during the current year.
“We will defer a final decision on this until there is certainty on both the full easing of restrictions and the consequences of any further lockdowns during our peak trading period this winter.”