JD Sports has hiked its profit guidance after hailing strong customer demand across Christmas and Black Friday.
The sportswear retailer hailed its latest figures as an “extremely robust performance” in the face of challenges from the pandemic.
The group said “positive” recent sales demand means it is now expecting to post pre-tax profit of at least £875 million for the year to January 29, upgrading its previous target of £810 million.
Sales in the 22 weeks to January 1 were up 10% on the same period in 2020, the company said.
JD also said it was buoyed by around £100 million of financial stimulus in the US during the first half of the financial year.
However, the retailer added it is aware of “the ongoing challenges with operational restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe and south-east Asia”, as well as short-term supply constraints for some brands.
It said it is “well placed” to manage these challenges due to its buying position.
Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of the business, said: “The commitment of our colleagues is crucial to our success and I would like to thank everyone in our various businesses for their significant contribution in delivering this outstanding performance.”
The update comes two months after the retail group was told it must sell Footasylum by the UK’s competition regulator.
The Competition and Markets Authority said in November it had found serious concerns that JD’s £85 million deal to buy Footasylum – which was first agreed in 2019 – would reduce competition in the UK footwear market.
Shares in the company moved 2.3% lower in early trading.