JD Sports eyes outdoor, fashion improvement after solid first half


LONDON (Reuters) - British retailer JD Sports Fashion (LSE:JD.) posted a rise in first half profit as strong demand at its sports stores helped offset tougher times for its fashion and outdoor businesses.

The clothing and footwear firm, which sells merchandise from top brands like Nike (NKE.N) alongside own labels such as Mckenzie, on Wednesday said pretax profit for the six months to Aug 3 was 10 million pounds, up from 2.9 million a year ago.

Revenue grew 2 percent to 567.4 million pounds, with like-for-like sales at its core UK sports retail division up 7.5 percent, but down 2.2 percent at its smaller fashion arm, which trades under store names including Bank and Scotts.

The group's outdoor clothing businesses, Blacks and Millets, bought for 20 million pounds in January 2012, made a first-half operating loss of 8.9 million pounds as the firm cleared large volumes of products like winter jackets at cut prices.

The company said the recent reorganisation of its fashion and outdoor businesses would deliver returns in the longer term, and added that it was confident of delivering full-year results within the range of current expectations.

Shares in JD Sports closed at 1025 pence on Tuesday, up 40 percent on a year ago, valuing the business at almost 500 million pounds.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by Kate Holton)

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