JD Sports warning after sales decline 1.6%

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The sports fashion retailer cited warm autumn weather , lower consumer confidence and widespread unemployment in JD Sports’ sales in sixteen weeks to mid-November to edge up just 0.2% and in fact had declined by 1.5% taking into account the rise in VAT to 20%.

This compares with a gross like for like increase of 3.3% in the seven weeks to September 17, or a net gain of 1.6%, reminds The Guardian, indicating a recent slowdown in sales. It pointed to a "marked decline in consumer confidence" and "continuing downward pressures on all elements of discretionary spending."

“I don’t like making poncy excuses . . . but the reality is people aren’t bursting out to buy winter gear yet,” said Peter Cowgill, JD Sport’s chief executive, as published by the Financial Times. “It’s not as cold as it normally is at this time of year [and] the economy isn’t full of optimism.”

Mr Cowgill said there would be “a slight adjustment” to the company’s acquisition strategy to concentrate more on “inward focus”. He added the company had £19.2m net cash on its balance sheet as well as lending facilities to take advantage of potential acquisition opportunities. Jonathan Pritchard, an analyst at Oriel Securities, said the next few weeks were a crucial time for high street fashion retailers. “With lots of wages being paid on the weekend, this is the ‘buy your Christmas party dress’ time,” he said. “I don’t think the problems are JD Sports specific – retailing in that space is troubled . . . what they are saying is that they can’t see it getting any better.” Its shares were down 55p, or 6.7 per cent, to 760p.

Burberry was still big news on Thursday, when John Smith, Non Executive Director, bought 518 shares in the company on the 24th November 2011 at a price of 1141.00p. The Director now holds 1,529 shares representing 0.00% of the shares in issue.

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