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Britain’s JD Sports to Expand to Australia

As Sports Direct stumbles from one disaster to another, one of its biggest homegrown rivals is on a winning streak.

JD Sports said Tuesday that in the six months ended July 30, revenue jumped 20 percent to more than 970 million pounds ($1.28 billion), thanks to strong like-for-like sales growth, while pre-tax profits surged 73 percent to reach 77.4 million pounds ($102 million).

“The favorable trends for athletic-inspired footwear and apparel in Europe have continued into this year. We are very much at the center of this market with our success being a positive consequence of the investments we have made over a number of years to develop the JD retail concept,” said Peter Cowgill, executive chairman. “Notwithstanding the demanding comparatives going forward following the strong revenue growth in the previous three years, the positive nature of trading in the second half to date is encouraging.”

The sports fashion retailer, which calls itself “King of Trainers” and sells all the usual heavy-hitters, opened 20 stores across Europe in the first half of the year. JD said there would be more to come in the second half, notably in Portugal after the acquisition of 12 stores that previously traded as The Athlete’s Foot, as well as the opening of flagship-style stores in Brussels and Cologne.

Since the end of July, JD has acquired Next Athleisure in Australia, which has 32 stores trading as Glue, providing the platform to expand the retail chain Down Under. And while most of JD’s 953 stores are in the U.K., the company is confident it can mitigate any headwinds on margin that may come its way in 2017 due to the weakening of the pound against the U.S. dollar, or any other uncertainties caused by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.