JD Sports trebles its Irish profits as retail recovery streaks ahead

Sales exceed €100m in just 12 months at group’s 24 Irish retail outlets

Queue outside JD Sports in Dublin on St Stephen’s Day in advance of Christmas sale. Photograph: Alan Betson

Queue outside JD Sports in Dublin on St Stephen’s Day in advance of Christmas sale. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The UK-listed JD Sports retail chain has recorded a huge spike in the profitability of its Irish operation, illustrating how the domestic economy has begun to move through the gears.

Sales at the 24 Irish retail outlets owned by JD Sports, which also operates Champions Sports, breached the €100 million barrier in the 12 months to the end of January this year. Operating profit margins at its main Irish division almost trebled to more than 15 per cent, while its sales rose by 23 per cent.

The stock market-listed parent company does not break out the results of its Irish operation. But recently filed accounts for the 20 stores held in its main entity, John David Sports Fashion (Ireland), as well as four stores operating Champion Sports Ireland, lay bare its improving performance here.

As each of the group’s stores is rebranded from Champion to JD Sports, they are shifted over to the main entity. Its results for the year comprised 20 stores, up from 19 after the Cork Mahon store was rebranded.

Revenues at the main entity’s stores rose from €70 million to €86.6 million. Total sales at the remaining Champions outlets were steady at €14.3 million, despite its complement reducing by one following the Cork rebranding.

The main entity almost trebled operating profits to €13.2 million, and now employs about 560 staff. The Champion Sports entity also trebled profits, to €2.2 million. The accounts say the group is effectively debt free.

The directors of JD Sports warned that Brexit remains “high on the board’s agenda”, although the weakening pound has actually made the Irish operation even more lucrative for the group, once its earnings in euro are translated back into sterling.