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JD Sports anticipates tough Christmas trading period
26
Nov '11
JD Sports Fashion Plc the leading retailer and distributor of sport and athletic inspired fashion apparel, footwear and young fashion, releases the following Interim Management Statement for the period to 19 November 2011.

In the announcement of the Group's interim results for the 26 week period to 30 July 2011 the Group reported an improvement in trading in the seven weeks to 17 September 2011 with gross like for like sales growth of 3.3% (Sports Fascias +2.5%; Fashion Fascias +7.4%) and net growth of 1.6% (Sports Fascias +1.0%; Fashion Fascias +5.0%).

Since then, gross like for like sales growth for the second half has declined to a cumulative level of +0.2% (Sports Fascias -0.1%; Fashion Fascias +1.3%) for the sixteen weeks ended 19 November 2011, with a net decline of 1.5% after taking into account the impact of the increase in VAT to 20% (Sports Fascias -1.6%; Fashion Fascias -0.9%).

Performance since 17 September has been impacted by the continuing downward pressures on all elements of discretionary consumer spending and the recent marked decline in consumer confidence. Despite experiencing adverse pressure on margins because of the trading environment, we continue to work hard to maintain them. Although we anticipate a tough Christmas trading period, our management and staff have a good track record for mobilising effectively through this key time of the year.

In our non-UK retail businesses, we have now successfully opened a further two JD stores in France (being the conversion of an existing Chausport store in Amiens and, more recently, a new store in Marseille). We are encouraged by the potential for the Sprinter business in Spain since acquisition and we expect to open our first JD stores in Spain in the first half of 2012.

The performance of Champion is still being affected by the particularly difficult economic environment in the Republic of Ireland but opportunities for future improvement exist with the right execution.

Elsewhere in the Group, Canterbury has performed well in New Zealand and Australia assisted by the Rugby World Cup. However, the performance of the rest of the global Canterbury business has been mixed, and we continue to appraise the best means of realizing the full potential of this leading global brand.

The result for the full year remains, as usual, substantially dependant on the performance through the Christmas period. However, at this stage the Board believes the Group remains on course to deliver earnings in line with current expectations.

The Group will issue its post Christmas trading update on 12 January 2012.

JD Sports Fashion Plc

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