DEMAND for World Cup goodies has boosted sales for retail chain JD Sports Fashion.
The group, which has a store at Kingsgate in Huddersfield, said like-for-like sales in its sports shops rose by 5.1% on a year earlier between January 31 and last weekend.
That compares with the 3% growth reported during the first 10 weeks of the trading period.
The group said it benefited from the build-up to the World Cup as fans snapped up replica shirts and accessories ahead of the tournament.
The firm has been one of the retail sector’s strongest performers in the recession and is due to be rewarded with promotion to the FTSE 250 Index when the market’s latest reshuffle takes place on June 18.
The sports performance was accompanied by improved trading in the company’s fashion division, which consists of the chains Scotts and Bank.
Like-for-like sales in the division were down 1.2% compared with the 3.5% decline reported earlier in the trading period.
Singer Capital Markets increased its forecast for profits in the year to January 30 by 1% to £72.5m from £71.5m.
JD Sports Fashion embarked on an overseas buying spree last year – following up the acquisition of Chausport, a sports shoe retailer in France, by acquiring rugby brands Canterbury and Canterbury of New Zealand as well as related distribution assets.
Freddie George, an analyst at Seymour Pierce stockbrokers, said: “The company has scope to develop its higher margin own label ranges, grow its internet offer and develop its wholesaling activities overseas and has the cashflow to make further acquisitions.”