Jul 7, 2020

JD Sports chairman renews calls for rent reform

JD Sports chairman Peter Cowgill has redoubled calls for changes to the landlord-tenant relationship as he warned that the high street chain's new store opening programme would be curtailed unless there is "Rental realism". Mr Cowgill, who has run JD Sports for more than 15 years, has been a vocal proponent of reform to lease arrangements. JD Sports, which has enjoyed tremendous success over the past decade as athleisure grew in popularity, said that while it still believed stores had a crucial role to play, it had "Decided to delay a number of projects that were planned for this year." Mr Cowgill made his comments as JD Sports reported sales for the year to February 1 that were 29 per cent higher at £6.11bn, helped by a full year of revenue from its Finish Line operation in the US. Pre-tax profit was £349m, up from £340m last year, although the most recent figure was impacted by £90m of exceptional charges and the introduction of new accounting rules. Kate Calvert, analyst at Investec, described the full-year results as "Fabulous" and upgraded her forecast for the current year by 75 per cent to £176m, though that would still be just over half last year's figure.

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