Stock in Focus: Why I won’t be adding JD Sports Fashion to the portfolio

Wednesday, Jul 12 2017 by
Stock in Focus Why I wonrsquot be adding JD Sports Fashion to the portfolio

Is JD Sports Fashion about to follow its budget rival Sports Direct International into the retail sin bin? Or was last month’s 20% decline just a short-term blip in the company’s stellar progress?

With no new stocks to add to the SIF Portfolio this week, I’m going to take a closer look at one of the top stock market performers of recent years. Let’s not forget that even after last month’s slide, JD Sports’ share price is still 10 times higher than it was five years ago.


What’s gone wrong?

For most companies, issuing an ‘in-line’ trading statement would leave their share price unchanged on the day. The problem for companies which continually beat expectations is that the market starts to price in this outperformance. This can lead to problems.

When JD Sports advised investors to expect a full-year result “in line with market expectations” on 29 June, the shares fell by 13% in one day. This compounded the weakness seen since late May, when the stock hit a 52-week high of 462p.

In fairness, management commentary did seem to justify a cautious view. Founder and executive chairman Peter Cowgill said that calendar differences would affect the timing of clearance sales and thus like-for-like sales. He cited the Muslim festival of Eid and also pointed out that last year’s Euro 2016 tournament would make for tough comparatives this year.

Mr Cowgill then went on to warn that the firm was facing “margin pressure in achieving sales growth”. In other words, management have been forced to cut prices by more than expected in order to hit sales targets.

Were investors being softened up for a possible profit warning, or is this business as usual for a big retailer? I’m not sure. City analysts have chosen to give Mr Cowgill the benefit of the doubt. Broker forecasts have remained flat in July:


Still a high flyer?

It’s worth noting that despite last month’s slide, JD Sports still has a StockRank of 90 and StockRank Style of High Flyer. The only classification that’s changed is the firm’s RiskRating, which has moved from Balanced to Adventurous. This signifies a higher level of expected volatility, as a result of the recent share price movement.

Although you might expect last month’s share price slide to have resulted in…

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JD Sports Fashion Plc is a multichannel retailer of sports fashion and outdoor brands. The Company's segments are Sports Fashion and Outdoor. The Company's sports fashion brands include JD, Size?, Chausport, Sprinter,, Kooga, Kukri Sports, Source Lab, Scotts, Tessuti, Cloggs, JD Gyms and Nicholas Deakins. Its outdoor brands include Blacks, Millets, Tiso and Ultimate Outdoors. Chausport operates throughout France retailing international footwear brands, such as Nike, adidas and Le Coq Sportif together with brands specific to the local market, such as Redskins. Sprinter is a sports retailer in Spain selling footwear, apparel, accessories and equipment for a range of sports, as well as lifestyle casual wear and childrenswear. Kooga designs and sources rugby apparel and equipment. Cloggs is an online retailer of branded footwear. Blacks is a retailer of specialist outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment. It has over 900 stores across a range of retail fascias. more »

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10 Comments on this Article show/hide all

herbie47 12th Jul 1 of 10

You maybe right about JD Sports Fashion (LON:JD.), I sold out in April, too many headwinds and retail is not a sector I want to be in at the moment, but I don't think it is anything like Sports Direct.

I note Severfield (LON:SFR) qualifies in your screen but is not included in your portfolio?

By the way when will you be reviewing £CAML?

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dfr1 12th Jul 2 of 10

I hold shares in this company and it has done very well for me over the last two to three years, I hope with getting blacks now back into profit and buying thee other outdoor store stores it gives it another outlet to profit from apart from jd alone, although I was in Chester a couple of weeks ago and the store there was packed with customers who were buying, and then there's always tessuti a top end store.also with the company expanding more over seas I see this as an opportunity to hopefully make more profits from the younger generation who always seem to want the newest items which Jd,s have ,and there stores always look more appealing than the other sports stores,wright or wrong I am sticking with this company.

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Roland Head 12th Jul 3 of 10

In reply to herbie47, post #1

Hi herbie,

Central Asia Metals (LON:CAML) isn't due for review until September, as it falls under my new 9-month holding rule, which I'm phasing in gradually

(A review of holdings which are eight months old will be published later in July).

Severfield (LON:SFR) does qualify intermittently for the screen, but the portfolio ( doesn't have any cash for new buys at the moment, due to the impact of extending the holding period. I hope to add a new stock later this month or at the start of August.



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Roland Head 12th Jul 4 of 10

In reply to dfr1, post #2

Hi dfr1,

Interesting comments about Blacks returning to profit. My wife was in York last week and she reported that the Blacks store in the city centre was having a closing down sale.

I assume this means JD Sports Fashion (LON:JD.) is pruning unprofitable stores from its portfolio. But I was surprised to see this one go, as it always seemed busy.



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herbie47 12th Jul 5 of 10

In reply to Roland Head, post #3

I see, I did not know about the 9 month holding rule.

A bit confused why you are reviewing JD Sports Fashion (LON:JD.) now if you have no cash to buy it?

Not keen on fixed holding periods myself.

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Roland Head 12th Jul 6 of 10

In reply to herbie47, post #5

Hi herbie,

I don't just write about portfolio stocks, I also write about other stocks that may be of interest.


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Paul Scott 12th Jul 7 of 10

Hi Roland,

Interesting article, many thanks.

I've noticed that a lot of high-flying momentum shares have taken a tumble recently. So this could be one of many, where the price simply ran too far ahead of events, and is now correcting.

I think that very highly rated shares need continuous good news. As you say, an in-line update just isn't good enough for a stock that was on a PER of over 20.

Also JD relies on the big brands continuing to supply it. Once they realise how much profit JD is making, you could imagine them jacking up their supply prices, hence squeezing JD's margins, perhaps?

It's the first time ever that I can remember a retailer giving the timing of Eid as a reason for sales not being quite what they expected!

Regards, Paul.

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Russelwilko 14th Jul 8 of 10

Very good read. I think the cost pressures will outweigh the reasons to hold the shares.


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vik2001 14th Jul 9 of 10

JD has no real competition on the high street apart from footlocker, but they are still miles apart. Sport direct is just a budget store compared to JD.
JD Shops are always busy, and this is just a correction as Paul said in a overrun share, im sure it will steady itself again once a ground has been found.

I got out this share over a year ago but was my first multibagger (though im still in love with it for sentimental reason lol).

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Graham Ford 14th Jul 10 of 10

I think it is a mistake to talk about JD as if they are still simply a UK high street retailer with shops called JD Sports.

They are expanding greatly in other countries and expanding their brands and channels to market. So it is much more than a shop in Reading (for example) selling athlesiure.

Yes, the share price gets ahead of performance from time to time but there's little sign that they have run out of ways to grow profitably. Yes there are economic headwinds for the UK high street retailers but the rest of Europe is doing quite nicely now and they are building their presence there as well as in other countries.

A pause for breath is probably due but I believe this growth story has a lot further to go yet. I remain long on JD.

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About Roland Head

Roland Head

Private investor & writer on stock markets with a particular fondness for free cash flow, dividends and value, plus an interest in resource stocks.In earlier life, I worked as an engineer in telecoms and IT. The quantitative, rule-based mindset required for this type of work is probably reflected in my investment style. Another factor that affects my investment choices is my experience working for a large telecoms company at the turn of the century, when tech stocks were booming. Watching this bubble inflate and then implode from the inside was very educational. more »


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