JD Sports Fashion Plc, the U.K.’s third-largest sporting-goods retailer, reported sales rose 2.8% in the five weeks ended Jan. 3. Pretax profit will be “marginally” above estimates, helped by a strategy of delaying marking down merchandise until Dec. 26. By division, sales at Sports Fascias was up 1.0% and Fashion Fascias jumped  12.5%.

The Group's cumulative like for like sales for the 48 week period to 3 January 2009 are therefore up 3.8% (Sports Fascias up 3.1% and Fashion Fascias up 8.0%), with gross profit margins having improved marginally over the full period compared to the previous year.
JD Sports said its Board “now believes that current market expectations for profit before tax and exceptional items will be marginally exceeded.”