* JD restores full-year outlook
* Co encouraged by performance since store reopening
* Expects FY headline pretax profit of at least 265 mln
* Shares rise 7%, biggest FTSE 100 gainer
(Adds chairman and analyst comments, shares, details on sales,
By Tanishaa Nadkar
Sept 8 (Reuters) - Britain's biggest sportswear retailer JD
Sports pointed to an encouraging performance since its
shops reopened following coronavirus curbs and felt confident
enough to give guidance for the rest of its financial year,
sending its shares higher.
A combination of pent-up demand, particularly in areas where
online sales are less prevalent, and discounts helped to boost
sales in reopened stores, JD said.
It also reported an "excellent performance" in the United
States helped by sales at Finish Line and JD.
Pretax profit sank 68% to 41.5 million pounds for the six
months ended Aug. 1, but JD predicted full-year headline pretax
profit would be at least 265 million pounds ($349 million).
The company reported profit before tax and exceptional items
of 438.8 million pounds in the year to Feb. 2020.
JD said it would not pay an interim dividend.
"While the headline figures are down, there are clear signs
in JD Sports' interim results that it is recovering from the
crisis," eToro analyst Adam Vettese said.
Shares in the FTSE-100 listed company jumped 7% to 775 pence
by 0920 GMT.
While footfall in the UK improved in August, sales were
still below pre-pandemic levels leading to a devastating effect
on local economies, according https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/empty-office-blocks-leave-city-centres-bare
to the British Retail Consortium.
Britain has been encouraging people to get back to their
places of work to revive the economy, as British chains like
Pret A Manger and Marks and Spencer have had to lay off
thousands of staff.
However, retailers including Frasers, Primark and
Ted Baker have lately guided to improving sales.
"Retail footfall remains comparatively weak and the recent
strengthening of measures in many countries and the subsequent
temporary closure of some stores reminds us that COVID-19
remains an ongoing challenge," JD Chairman Peter Cowgill said.
It flagged the risk of having to pay duties as the UK's
transition period with the European Union is set to end later
this year, and said it was establishing a more permanent
European supply chain infrastructure.
($1 = 0.7601 pounds)
(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru
Editing by Patrick Graham and Keith Weir)