Sportswear demand boosts JD

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RETAILER JD Sports Fashion reported improved sales growth yesterday as stronger demand for sportswear offset weak trade in its fashion outlets.

The group reported a 1.5 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the 16 weeks to November 17, compared with growth of 1.1 per cent in the first half of its financial year.

Its 350 sports outlets, such as JD Sports, saw a 3.5 per cent rise in sales, while its fashion brands, including Bank and Size?, suffered a 6.6 per cent decline in the same period.

The group also said it had started investing in outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure, acquired in January for £20m, which has shown positive early signs.

JD has shut around 100 of Blacks’ worst-performing stores since buying the business. It previously said it will run the majority of the 198 stores in the Blacks business until Christmas, but the long-term structure of the estate will depend on store performance relative to recently negotiated rents.

It also ditched the Millets name as JD plans to use Blacks as its single outdoor fascia.