JD Sports boss Peter Cowgill has said its loss-making outdoor division is likely to turn a profit if the business has a “decent winter”.
The retailer’s outdoor unit, which includes Blacks and Millets, today posted first-half operating losses of £2.3m, a narrowing from £4.5m in the prior year.
“If we get anything like a decent winter we’re a long way towards stopping the bleed”
But speaking to Retail Week today, Cowgill said he is “not at all disappointed” with the result as the management team has done a “great job”.
He added: “If we get anything like a decent winter we’re a long way towards stopping the bleed.”
JD Sports acquired Blacks and Millets in 2012 after the businesses collapsed into administration under previous owners.
The loss figure was the only negative today, as JD Sports unveiled a 73% jump in group pre-tax profits in the 26 weeks to July 30.
The retailer is also reportedly looking at extending its outdoor business with the possible acquisition of Go Outdoors.
Cowgill appeared to confirm the speculation today by saying: “You’d expect us to be having a look, it’s just one of a number that we’ve looked at.”
Benefiting from Sports Direct?
Meanwhile, JD Sports’ executive chairman shrugged of the suggestion his company has benefited from rival Sports Direct’s woes.
“We target a different demographic,” he said. “There could be some at the margin, but we’re not targeting the Sports Direct consumer.”
He added: “Our demographic is younger, more aspirational, more edgy, more concerned with being in the latest, greatest gear.”
Asked whether he had any sympathy for Ashley, Cowgill said: “I’m sure the last thing Mike Ashley needs from me is sympathy.”
Sports Direct’s founder once reportedly vowed to “finish off” JD Sports.
An open day for Sports Direct investors and media backfired last week when Ashley garnered front-page headlines for producing a wad of £50 notes when going through a mock security check at the retailer’s Shirebrook warehouse.