JD Sports sees 'record' trading
Retailer JD Sports says it achieved record trading in the first half of this year, with a big increase in profits.
Its pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to 2 August was £16.45m, compared with £6.09m for the same period last year.
Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said the company was "well positioned to deliver results towards the upper end of current market expectations".
JD Sports has 850 stores, mainly in the UK, but also trades in mainland Europe.
Mr Cowgill said the group now had 12 stores in Germany and 21 in France. It had also opened new outlets in Spain and the Netherlands.
"There will be further openings in all of our international territories in the second half," he added.
The retailer has a strong presence in UK shopping malls and online, but Mr Cowgill told the BBC's Today programme that a High Street presence was "still very important to JD Sports".
"The High Street is alive and well," he added.
The firm said its UK and European Sports divisions had made "encouraging progress".
At the same time, its outdoor division, which includes the Blacks, Millets and Tiso brands, had reduced its operating loss from £8.9m to £5.6m.
The group said its fashion stores, with the exception of Scotts, had had "a difficult half", but performance was expected to improve later in the year.