JD Sports Fashion’s pre-tax profit plunged 18.3% to £55.1m in its last financial year as losses from its Blacks acquisition hit the group.

The outdoor fascias, which include Blacks and Millets which it acquired last January, made operating losses of £14.9m before exceptionals in the year to February 2.

The retailer said performance was improving in its outdoor fascias now that its new management team, led by former Cotswold Outdoor buying and merchandising director Ken Reeve, had been installed. It said its like-for-likes in the business had “benefited significantly” from both the cold weather and a sustained clearance programme from January to March.

JD Sports Fashion executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “Whilst the board recognises that recent acquisition activity has impacted on short-term returns, it remains confident that the group is well positioned to deliver earnings growth and increased shareholder returns over the longer term.”

Across the group sales jumped 18.8% to £1.26bn, driven by its sports fascias. Like-for-likes increased 2.5% in sports retail, which includes JD, Champion and Chausport.

In the UK and Republic of Ireland its core JD fascia added an extra £4.7m to operating profits over the year.

However, its fashion like-for-likes, excluding its premium business, dropped 4.1%. Its fashion business includes the Scotts and Bank fascias.

The good performance in its sports fascias has continued into its current financial year, with like-for-likes in the UK and Ireland edging up 1.9% in the nine weeks to April 6.   However fasion like-for-likes have dropped 6.2%. Across the group in UK and Ireland, like-for-likes were up 0.5%.

Cowgill said: “The core sports fascias in the UK continue to produce excellent results and provide the group with a very solid foundation for ongoing profitability and cash generation.

“We are pleased overall with the start we have made to the new year. A very considerable amount of reorganisation in both outdoor retail and our warehousing and distribution operations is now behind us and this should benefit trading in the balance of the year.”

“The group is exceptionally well positioned with its retail proposition, financial resources and extended management experience to take advantage of opportunities both in the UK and internationally.”