JD Sports Fashion has revealed a 7% jump in like-for-likes in the UK and Ireland driven by Blacks and Millets but at the expense of margins.

The business update for the 18 weeks to June 8, 2013 said overall group performance for the sports retailer was “in line” with expectations. It added that the UK and Ireland figures now include Irish retailer Champion, which is now largely serviced from the UK.

The group’s outdoor fascias, which comprise Blacks and Millets, recorded positive like-for-like sales, but it said this was achieved at “a significant margin sacrifice”.

JD Sports revealed that former Go Outdoors boss Lee Bagnall has begun working as managing director of Millets.

The retailer said: “The development of profitability in these fascias remains a work in progress.

“We expect them to benefit from the imminent final rationalisation and relocation of their head office functions at Bury and the increasing influence of new management on the propositions.”

But the retailer said it expects a “significantly” reduced loss across the outdoor fascias in the current year with the biggest improvement coming in the second half of the year.

Like-for-like sales across JD’s main fashion fascias, which comprises Bank and Scotts, dropped 5%. Bank pulled the performance down, which will result in a wider loss for these fascias in the first half.

JD said it expects to see the benefit from the appointment of the new head of ladieswear later this year.

JD added that the results for the distribution division in the first half will be hit by the disposal of the Canterbury rugby brand and the impact of former rival retailer JJB’s disappearance from the market.