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JD Sports reports record earnings ahead of key holiday season

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FILE PHOTO: People pass a JD Sports store in London
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(Reuters) -JD Sports reported a record first-half profit as lockdowns eased and people visited its shops in Britain, sending its shares to an all-time high as investors looked past the scrapped dividend and looked ahead to the holiday season.

The company said it expects earnings in the year ending Jan. 29 to more than double from a year earlier even as it navigates global supply chain constraints and Brexit disruptions, which it said limited its sales.

Shares jumped 9.2% to a record 11.45 pounds by 0730 GMT, topping blue-chip gainers.

JD Sports has been expanding in the last few years, buying up U.S. rivals Finish Line, DTLR and Footasylum, as it takes advantage of the rising popularity of comfortable athletic clothing that can be worn anywhere.

And the pandemic has accelerated that trend as people working from home grow more comfortable in their sweatpants and hoodies.

JD Sports' earnings before tax and exceptionals soared to 439.5 million pounds ($609.85 million) for the six months to July from 61.9 million pounds in 2020 and 158.6 million pounds the year before that.


The company expects headline pretax profit for the full year ending Jan. 29, 2022 of at least 750 million pounds, well over the combined earnings from the previous two years.

JD Sports, which withheld its interim dividend, said it will consider paying a larger final dividend depending on its performance.

The company also warned of footfall remaining weak in many countries and supply chain challenges that held it back from meeting strong demand in some categories, including bikes and cycling-related accessories.

"We remain cautious about both the potential for further restrictions on trading through the usual peak trading period prior to Christmas," the company said.

JD, which opened a warehouse in Belgium to help cut customs duties on transporting goods into the EU post-Brexit, will spend 100 million pounds to set up another facility in the Netherlands.

($1 = 0.7207 pounds)

(Reporting by Muvija M and Chris Peters in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Louise Heavens)

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