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JD Sports chairman encouraged by US performance

JD Sports executive chairman, Peter Cowgill, will address shareholders at today’s annual general meeting (AGM) with positive news about the company’s US expansion.

A new JD Sports website was launched in the US in May, to complement a burgeoning store network in the country, and Cowgill will say the organisation “remains encouraged by the developments in the market to date”.

There are now six JD stores in the US, following the conversion of the former Finish Line shop at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. JD acquired local retailer Finish Line during the last financial year.

Back in April, JD Sports announced strong growth for its full year trading, and the focus since has been on expansion outside its UK heartlands.

"There has been further expansion in the global JD store estate with a net increase of 29 new stores (109,000 sq ft) in the period to 29 June 2019,” he will tell the AGM.

“As expected, the emphasis has been on international development with a net 18 new stores to date across Europe, including the conversion of six former Chausport stores in France, and a net five new stores in the Asia Pacific region with additional stores in both Malaysia and Australia.”

Cowgill will say that in the financial year to date, JD has continued to achieve “encouraging like-for-like sales growth” in its core sports fashion fascias in the UK and internationally.

"The board remains confident that the group continues to be on track to deliver headline profit before tax for the full year at least equal to current consensus market expectations."

In April, JD said the first phase of works to fit out the 352,000 sq ft extension at its primary Kingsway warehouse had been completed, enabling a partial use of the additional space to receive inbound stocks.

In what represents its major infrastructure project at present, works to install additional automation equipment in the extended space are ongoing with the business expecting this to be completed by the end of the first half. It noted that the move has caused some disruption and necessitated more manual processes than usual at the site.

The project to extend Spanish brand Sprinter's warehouse in Alicante to accommodate the additional stocks required for the future fulfilment of its Sport Zone stores in Portugal and the Canary Islands is also ongoing, with work expected to be completed this summer.

JD will announce interim results for the period to 3 August 2019 on 10 September 2019.

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