JD Sports posts sales increase over Christmas

Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:03am GMT

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(Reuters) - Britain's JD Sports Fashion (JD.L) said sales at its UK and Ireland sports stores rose over Christmas and it expected full-year group profit at the low end of market expectations after one-off losses at its outdoor business.

The clothing and footwear retailer, which sells merchandise from brands including Nike (NKE.N) and Adidas (ADSGn.DE), said on Thursday that like-for-like sales at its core UK and Ireland JD Sports stores rose 3.2 percent in the seven weeks to January 5.

After 49 weeks, cumulative like-for-like sales were up 2.4 percent, it said, adding that the margin for those activities had improved and were near to last year's level in the year to date.

The group's smaller fashion business - which trades under the store names Bank and Scotts - saw sales fall 7.9 percent in the seven-week period and 3.9 percent over 49 weeks.

"(We are) now very focused on improving the performance in this business," the company said in a statement on Thursday.

British retailers have been battling inflation, subdued wages growth and government austerity measures leading to tightened household budgets, with camera specialist Jessops the latest casualty after calling in the administrators on Wednesday.

JD said trading at outdoor clothing retailers Blacks and Millets, which it bought from administrators, had been disappointing over the Christmas period but that was due to decisions made by the previous management.

One-off losses at the outdoor retailers would result in the group's annual profit before tax and exceptional items being at the lower end of market expectations, currently at 60 million pounds it said.

(Reporting by Helen Massy-Beresford; Editing by Lorraine Turner)

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