The owner of JD Sports said today it was back in the black after seeing “encouraging progress” at its sports stores division.
John David Group added recent trading had been marginally ahead of expectations, as it geared up for the key Christmas season by unveiling half-year profits of £3.2m( €47.2m), against losses of £2.6m (€3.8m) last time.
The group completed the conversion of Allsports stores during the period, but said the 80 sites would not contribute to profitability until this half.
Sportswear, including tops and branded shirts, now represents 93% of sales after the company rescued the Allsports chain from administration last year. The remainder comprises sales at its outlets devoted to fashion.
The JD Sports branded sites benefited from better stock management and efforts to improve margins during the period. Like-for-like sales lifted 3.2%.
Trading since the end of the half-year was described as satisfactory with the same-store figure at JD Sports improving to 4%. Fashion-focused sites showed a gain of 5.7%, against weak comparatives from a year earlier.
Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “Overall the board expects results to continue to improve with trading to date currently running marginally ahead of market expectations.
“Our final result remains heavily dependent upon sales performance during the key Christmas trading period.”