JD Sports cautious despite rise in profits

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JD Sports in Liverpool
Image caption,
JD Sports said it had made "good progress"

Retailer JD Sports Fashion has reported a sharp rise in full-year profits and proposed a "significant increase" in shareholder dividends.

Pre-tax profit in the year to 29 January came in at £78.6m, a rise of 28% on the £61.4m it made a year earlier. Revenue rose 15% to £883.7m.

But the company said "multiple economic pressures" meant its outlook was "extremely cautious".

A number of retailers have delivered gloomy outlooks in recent weeks.

These include Next, Mothercare, HMV and Dixons Retail - which owns Currys and PC World.

On Tuesday, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported its largest monthly fall in sales since records began in 1996.

UK retail sales fell 1.9% in March compared with a year earlier, although the early timing of Easter last year had an impact on the figures, the BRC said.

Tough environment

JD Sports chairman Peter Cowgill said: "The year ended 29 January 2011 has been the seventh successive year of good progress in revenue and profitability for the group."

However, he added: "The retail environment has recently been significantly impacted by adverse fiscal changes in addition to the multiple current economic pressures.

"Against that background, therefore, it is inevitable that the board is extremely cautious in its outlook."

Mr Cowgill said that the board had proposed an increase in final dividend to 19.2 pence, a rise of 31% on a year earlier.

Last month, JD abandoned its attempts to take over rival JJB Sports.

It said JJB, which has struggled with weak sales and is closing a number of stores, had snubbed requests for information.

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