JD Sports profits top £16m

<p>JD Sports has enjoyed “record trading” in the first half of the year.</p>

JD Sports has enjoyed "record trading" in the first half of 2014 with profits soaring during the period.

The clothing retailer announced that its pre-tax profit had reached £16.45 million in the 26 weeks to August 2nd. This represented a significant improvement on the same period last year where the figures stood at £6.09 million. It now expects to post its full-year results towards the upper end of market expectations as demand grew within its core sports division.

JD Sports has been expanding in recent years. It currently boasts a total of 850 stores which includes a number across Europe. The company has a predominant focus on the UK but has been broadening its horizons recently to mainland Europe. It has 12 stores in Germany and 21 in France as well as opening new outlets in Spain and the Netherlands.

The retail sector has been going through many changes in recent years with the demand for online retail increasing substantially. Executive chairman of JD Sports Peter Cowgill explained that while the company does have an online presence it is still committed to its High Street operations. Mr Cowgill described the bricks and mortar as "still very important" to the retailer.

JD Sports played its part in saving a number of outdoor firms such as Blacks and Millets. In November 2013 it also secured a deal for Edinburgh-based outdoor clothing and equipment company Tiso Group which was described as a "strategic investment" at the time. Since then it has managed to stabilise their performance.

The company's outdoor division which includes these brands has reduced its operating loss from £8.9 million to £5.6 million. While it admitted that its fashion stores, bar Scotts, had experienced difficult trading in the first half of the year it was expecting them to all improve in the near future.

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