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JD Sports Upbeat on 2021 Profits

JD Sports Fashion Plc on Monday raised full-year guidance following positive demand in the second half to date for the period ending Jan. 30.

The Lancashire-based athleisure apparel and footwear firm now expects profit before tax to be “significantly ahead” of current market expectations by about 295 million pounds ($396.9 million), with net income for the year reaching at least 400 million pounds ($538.2 million).

“Against a backdrop of further forced temporary store closures in many of our global territories, it is pleasing to report that demand has remained robust throughout the second half, including in the key months of November and December. Total revenues for the twenty-two week period to [Jan. 2, 2021] in the Group’s like for like businesses (same-store sales) were more than 5 percent ahead of the prior year as consumers readily switched between physical and digital channels,” it said.

But JD Sports Fashion also cautioned that operational restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic will be a material factor through at least the first quarter of the year ending Jan. 29, 2022.

“Whilst we are confident that we have the proposition to continue to attract consumers throughout this period, the process to scale down activity in stores and scale up the digital channels, often at extremely short notice, presents significant challenges,” it added.

Ordinarily, JD Sports said it would be confident of “strong improvement” in results for the upcoming year compared with the prior year. “However, given the ongoing uncertain outlook with stores in the U.K. likely to be closed until at least Easter and closures in other countries possible at any time, our current best estimate is that the Group headline profit before tax for the full year to [Jan. 29, 2022] will be 5 percent to 10 percent ahead of the current year,” it said.

JD Sports expects to provide an update on preliminary results on April 13 for the year ending Jan. 20.