JD Sports predicts pre-pandemic profits for 2021

Sports fashion brand JD Sports has said while it must recognise the substantial level of temporary store closures, it is confident that its pre-tax profit for the year ahead will be between £475 million to £500 million.

The retailer reported pre-tax profits before exceptional items of £421.3 million in 2020, down marginally from £438.8 million in the previous year.

In its final year results the company said that following Brexit it has incurred some duties and disruption from customers checks on the transfer of goods from the UK into EU countries.

The retailer was able to reduce the adverse consequences of the UK’s exit by opening an 80,000 sq ft warehouse in Belgium last autumn. But the company said that while the site is functioning well, it does not provide a solution for either online orders or product destined for the Republic of Ireland.

To address this, the retailer announced it is currently fitting out a 65,000 sq ft warehouse near Dublin, set to be operational in the second half of the year.

“We also continue to review opportunities for a larger permanent facility in Europe which can process substantially all of the volume required for stores and online orders in Mainland Europe although it will likely be Autumn 2022 before an enlarged facility would be available for use,” said the company.

"The global COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the UK's formal exit from the European Union have presented a series of unprecedented challenges which have severely tested all aspects of our business including our multichannel capabilities, the robustness of our operational infrastructure and the resilience of our colleagues,” said Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, JD Sports. “However, at all times, the Group has strived to do the right thing for all stakeholders.”

The executive championed its multichannel proposition, which he said “continues to enhance its relevance to consumers” and has the “necessary agility to progress in an environment where the retailing of international brands may see permanent global structural change.”

"Our positive outlook is reflected by the fact that, even with the unique circumstances of store closures for a substantial period of the year, the Group has retained substantially all of its record profitability from the prior year with a profit before tax and exceptional items of £421.3 million (2020: £438.8 million), added Cowgill. “We are indebted to all of our teams in our different territories for their determination and resilience in dealing with the potentially life changing challenges of the past year and we fully acknowledge the contribution from all of our colleagues in the delivery of this excellent result.”

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