Growth driven by World Cup
Sports chain JJB has revealed strong first-half revenue growth, but at the expense of margins, according to a first-half trading update released today.

For the 25 weeks to July 23, like-for-like revenue across the group increased 9 per cent. Total revenue from the retail division rose by 9.8 per cent, but the gross margin achieved by the stores fell by 280 basis points.

More than half the revenue increases at the retail division came from replica kit products, as a result of both the World Cup and a new licensing agreement with Rangers FC. However, the retailer was forced to cut prices of England shirts over the World Cup period in to stay in line with competitors, leading to a shortfall in the gross profit achieved on the shirts.

In a statement, the group said it did not expect the 'competitive situation within the sports retail market to ease'.

JJB is continuing to roll out its combined health clubs/superstores. Five opened during the first half and a further five or six are planned for the remainder of the financial year. Revenue at the clubs rose by 40.1 per cent during the first-half.

Chairman Roger Lane-Smith said: 'Whilst our health club offering continues to prosper, competition within the sports retail market is still severe and, as ever, the Christmas trading period will be an important constituent of our year-end results.'