By Sharon Marris, business reporter
JD Sports has defied high street gloom, reporting a 15% rise in pre-tax profit for the year.
Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said that the retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands had delivered a "record result" thanks to its "relentless focus" on providing a "compelling differentiated proposition to the consumer".
Pre-tax profit was £339.9m in the year ending 2 February, compared with £294.5m the previous year.
The result comes as many high street names are struggling.
During the past week Debenhams has fallen into administration, LK Bennett announced a third of its stores would close and Monsoon Accessorize has made preliminary moves towards a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Mr Cowgill said: "JD is not immune to the widely reported challenges to physical retail in the UK with lower footfall on many high streets, malls and retail parks combined with cost challenges from increasing minimum wage rates and rises in business rates.
"Therefore, it is very pleasing that the core UK and Ireland Sports Fashion fascias, the most mature part of our group, have delivered a further increase in sales and profitability.
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"This helps maintain our belief that the store base at its current scale continues to provide a positive influence on our future development as it raises brand awareness, provides consumers with an opportunity to physically see and try the product, and enables us to provide multiple delivery points."
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