- Sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion warned that footfall in stores would remain uncertain but said it was 'well placed' to regain its pre-pandemic momentum after reporting a 3% rise in annual profit.

Pre-tax profit for the year through 1 February rose to £348.5m as revenue increased 30% to £6.11bn.

Like-for-like sales growth in global sports fashion fascias of 12% included 'highly encouraging' growth of more than 10% in the core UK and Ireland fascias, the company said.

'We were encouraged by the continued positive trading in the early weeks of the year prior to the emergence of Covid-19 and we firmly believe that we are well placed to regain our previous momentum,' it added.

Following store closures post-fiscal year end, JD Sports said it saw very strong performance online.

It also conceded that while those levels of growth may reduce with time, it was inevitable that there would be some level of permanent transfer from physical retail to online as a consequence of Covid-19.

'Whilst the majority of stores have now re-opened, it is very clear that footfall in stores will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future,' the company said.

'Looking longer term, there is inevitably considerable uncertainty as to what the effect of Covid-19 will be on consumer behaviour and footfall with future store investments highly dependent on rental realism and lease flexibility.'

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