(Reuters) - JD Sports Fashion Plc (JD.L) forecast annual profit at the higher end of expectations on Monday as Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer refused to cut prices in a tough retail environment.
British retailers, feeling the pinch of sluggish British consumer spending amid squeezed household incomes and uncertainty ahead of Britain’s planned departure from the European Union, have looked to sales deals and discounting to attract shoppers through its doors.
“Gross profit margins have been maintained at prior year levels as we continue with our policy not to enter into short-term reactive discounting unnecessarily,” JD said.
The company’s comments come as rival Footasylum Plc FOOT.L said last week it had to cut prices after disappointing Christmas trading, while rival Sports Direct’s owner Mike Ashley said last month that trading in November was “unbelievably bad”.
JD Sports’ total like-for-like sales grew more than 5 percent across its global stores, excluding recent acquisitions in the United States and Spain, for the 48-week period to Jan 5.
There was a “consistently positive like-for-like performance across Black Friday and the Christmas period,” the company said.
JD Sports, which owns brands such as Footpatrol and Cloggs, said it expects full-year headline profit before tax to come in at the higher end of a range between 325 million pounds ($417.72 million) and 352 million pounds.
The company’s shares were expected to open up as much 5 percent, according to pre-market indicators.
($1 = 0.7780 pounds)
Reporting by Devika Syamnath and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shounak Dasgupta