MARKET REPORT: JD Sports drags its feet as few spend big on clothes

JD Sports has enjoyed unrivalled success when it comes to getting young men and women to splash out more than £100 on the latest Nike trainers.

But trading has been tough lately, according to the retailer, as customers appear less keen to spend big.

The FTSE 100 self-styled ‘King of Trainers’ said profits fell 8 per cent to £917m in the year to February 3.

That was at the lower end of the £900m-£980m the business had previously forecast.

Sales rose 2.7 per cent to £10.5billion and increased in all regions apart from the UK, where revenues plunged 8.3 per cent to £3.5billion.

Tough times: The FTSE 100 self-styled ‘King of Trainers’ said profits fell 8 per cent to £917m in the year to February 3

The group said this was due to selling fashion businesses no longer considered essential such as Focus, GymNation and Hairburst. Chief executive Regis Schultz said the increase in group sales came ‘in what ended up being a very challenging market’. He added that apparel revenues were sluggish as ‘young people want innovation’, as there had been with trainers.

The company is gearing up for a busy summer of sport, with sales of England football shirts soaring 35pc ahead of the same period before the Euro 2020, which was held in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Shares sank 4.7 per cent, or 6.3p, to 127.5p, taking losses for the year to more than a quarter.

Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at investment platform AJ Bell, said: ‘One of UK retail’s biggest success stories, JD Sports, has found life a bit trickier in recent years and not just thanks to the pandemic.

‘While its youthful demographic may not have been as immediately impacted by the cost-of- living crisis, ultimately there have been limits on their capacity and appetite to drop hundreds of pounds on the latest set of must-have trainers.’

Mike Ashley’s fashion empire has raised its stake in Hugo Boss as the German’s brand share price plummets.

Sports Direct-owner Frasers Group increased its shareholding to more than £300m. Last month, shares in Hugo Boss plunged 13pc in a single session as the company warned that demand had weakened in China. Frasers Group’s stock rose 0.7 per cent, or 6.5p, to 881.5p.

A business owned by the largest investor in AB Foods has sold £262m worth of shares in the Primark parent at a slight discount.

Howard Investments offloaded around 10.3m shares for 2550p each – about 4 per cent lower than the previous day’s closing price.

It is an offshoot of Wittington, AB Foods’s top investor, which together own 56 per cent of the company. Both have promised not to sell any more shares in this financial year to September 14.

Shares in AB Foods sank 4.1 per cent, or 110p, to 2550p.

The main markets ended the final trading session of the month in the green, with the FTSE 100 up 0.5 per cent, or 44.33 points, to 8275.38 and the FTSE 250 rising 0.3 per cent, or 59.25 points, to 20730.12.

Harbour Energy is closing in on a deal to buy most of the oil and gas assets owned by Germany’s Wintershall Dea. Shares added 2.6 per cent, or 8.4p, to 330p.