Figures hit by World Cup comparatives
JJB Sports has been hit hard by World Cup comparatives, posting a like-for-like sales decline of 4.1 per cent for the 24 weeks to July 15.

Total group revenue fell 3.9 per cent for the period. However, the sports retailer said that, stripping out replica products that performed well during last year's World Cup, sales rose 1.8 per cent and like-for-like sales were ahead 1.4 per cent.

Gross margin from JJB's retail stores was also ahead 200 basis points - this time last year there had been heavy discounting of replica goods to help maximise sales of World Cup related merchandise.

JJB added that it intends to increase its proportion of own-brand sales, an initiative that will be led by new deputy chief executive Chris Ronnie, who has responsibility for product development and sourcing. Ronnie has undertaken a review of JJB's existing brand arrangements and JJB said it was considering a number of opportunities.

JJB non-executive chairman Roger Lane-Smith said: 'We have now passed through the trading period that included the very difficult comparatives of the 2006 World Cup. I believe that, despite these tough comparatives, our trading results have been satisfactory.'

'I look forward to what I believe will be a more positive second half of the accounting year. We will continue to focus on our policies of product differentiation, improving our gross margin and the continuing growth of our Leisure Division to drive and enhance our performance,' he added.