JD Sports enjoys surge in profits
JD Sports has announced record half-year profits as it continues to benefit from strong demand for sports fashions.
Pre-tax profits for the six months to 30 July jumped 73% from a year earlier to £77.4m.
Executive chairman Peter Cowgill told the BBC: "It's our third consecutive year of growth and we have become established as the place to go for athletic leisure products."
The company also announced plans to open shops in Australia.
Most of JD Sports' 900 outlets are in the UK, although it is expanding elsewhere in Europe in countries such as Spain, France and Germany.
The company said that while the UK's Brexit vote "means that there will be some uncertainties over the next two or three years, we have no doubt that we have the support of our brand partners to continue our expansion in Europe and beyond".
JD Sports said its sports fashion division had enjoyed "an exceptional first half", with operating profits up 53% to £79.9m.
Its outdoor division - which includes the Blacks and Millets chains - managed to narrow losses to £2.3m from £4.5m last year.
Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said JD Sports' results were "tremendous".
"The only disappointments are that the outdoor division is still losing money," he added.
"But given the incredible growth in the core sports fashion business, few shareholders are likely to be complaining about that."