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JD Sports eyes international expansion as profits boom

Sports and leisurewear retailer JD Sports is hoping its brand translates abroad with an ambitious international expansion plan, after profits soared last year.
The FTSE 250 company has opened its first stores in Australia and South Korea, in a push into the Asia-Pacific region, where it has opened nine new stores in the last year. It also has 56 stores across Europe.
Last month the company agreed to buy American trainer supplier The Finish Line in a $558m (?400m) deal. The business is 10pc owned by JD Sports rival Sports Direct and has 556 standalone stores and more than 500 concessions in Macy’s department stores, where it has exclusive rights to sell sports shoes.
Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, said that the US was the biggest market in the world, and that the acquisition provided a “significant opportunity for JD to expand its presence on a global basis”.
He said that the company would be “cautious” in the roll-out of its own brand in the US, initially changing the banners of about 30 stores to JD Sports to trial the model.
JD Sports eyes international expansion as profits boom

Credit:
 Jun Mapue/ Jun Mapue Photography
The expansion comes after the company enjoyed a “record result” in 2017, posting a 24pc jump in pre-tax profit to ?294.5m. Turnover rose 33pc, climbing above ?3bn for the first time in the company’s history to reach ?3.2bn in the year to Feb 3.
Mr Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: “It’s gone from ?100m of profit three years ago - that was our first landmark - to ?300m three years later. I don’t think there’ll be many companies who have achieved that.”
JD Sports's performance is in contrast to many other retailers on the high street, which have been battered by declining footfall, competition from online retailers, high business rates and rising wage costs.
Mr Cowgill attributed the retailer’s success to offering the “most aspirational” footwear and leisurewear.
He also hailed the successful turnaround of the company’s outdoor business, including Go Outdoors, Blacks and Millets, with earnings before interest, taxes, deprecitation and amortisation, of ?23m, up from ?7m the previous year, but including Go Outdoors for the first time.
He said that, while the company was investing more in its online business, “bricks and mortar remain our core offering”.
Shares in JD Sports were up 4.39pc to 368.4p in lunchtime trade.
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