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JD Sports Shares Soar as Fiscal 2024 Sales ‘Outperform’ Ahead of Olympics, Euro Cup

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Shares for JD Sports Fashion Plc were up nearly 15 percent on Thursday after the shoe and apparel retailer said it “outperformed” the sportswear market in fiscal 2024.

The U.K.-based athletic retailer said in a trading update on Thursday that total sales grew 3.6 percent to 10.5 billion pounds (or $13.27 billion) in fiscal 2024. Profit before tax and adjusted items for the year to January 2024 is expected to be in line with the revised guidance range of 915 million pounds to 935 million pounds, the company said.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024, JD Sports reported like-for-like sales were marginally ahead that the same time last year, up 0.1 percent. January was slightly down year-on-year due to elevated promotional activity in the market, particularly online, and against a very strong comparative of 25 percent growth. For the full year, like-for-like sales were up 4.2 percent with all regions ahead of the previous year with organic sales growth of 8.4 percent.

In North America, fourth quarter sales were up 2.1 percent against a previous year comparative of over 30 percent growth, in what was a highly promotional market. The company said that new store openings drove organic sales growth to 7.7 percent in the region. For the full year, North American sales were up 4.1 percent with organic sales growth of 9.3 percent. 

The UK and Ireland was the company’s hardest hit region in the quarter, with sales down 3.2 percent in Q4. According to JD, there were two drivers of this: firstly, this region has the highest apparel sales mix in the group and apparel performance was weaker than footwear; and secondly, JD chose not to participate fully in the significant, mainly online, promotional activity within the UK in Q4.

Conversely, the Asia Pacific region was JD’s most successful market in Q4 with earnings up 8.3 percent in the period. The company attributed this to strong growth in New Zealand and Thailand.

Régis Schultz, chief executive officer of JD Sports Fashion Plc, said in a statement that JD has made “good strategic progress” as the company opened 215 new JD stores this year, and focused its efforts on developing and enhancing earnings per share.

“Looking ahead, the current trading environment remains challenging due to less product innovation and elevated promotional activity, especially online,” Schultz said. “We anticipate trading conditions will improve as we move through the year, helped by a busy sporting summer and softer comparatives with last year.”

Given this, the company said it expects the first quarter of fiscal 2025 to likely be its softest period of the year and the second half of the year to be stronger than the first half. As such, JD expects sales growth in fiscal 2025 to be up 1 percent to 4 percent over 2024, with profit before tax and adjusted items to be between 955 million pounds and 1.035 billion pounds.

“We continue to invest in our people and the infrastructure needed to deliver our long-term growth plan,” Schultz added. “I am excited about the opportunities for the JD Group going forward and our ability to deliver attractive returns to shareholders.”

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