JD Sports shuts stores as virus causes ‘major disruption’

JD Sports has shut down “essentially all” of its stores across the UK, US and Europe following the spread of coronavirus.

The company said it is experiencing a “major disruption” to business operations, but warned current uncertainty means it is too early to provide financial guidance for the year.

It said its websites continue to accept and fulfil orders, with a “resilient performance” in most territories, but only represented a “comparatively small mitigation” to the impact on profits.

The company said it is currently “pursuing a number of measures to preserve capital” across its operations.

JD Sports also said it welcomes public sector initiatives, such as the suspension of business rates in the UK, which have been announced across its territories.

The retail group said it would also push back its next results announcement from April to the second half of May, to help provide greater clarity over the impact of the virus.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: “Along with everyone else, the group is experiencing major disruption to our business operations as we seek to protect our colleagues and customers from the effects of Covid-19.

“Their safety remains our number one priority and we continue to take all appropriate action in line with Government advice in our various territories.

“JD continues to offer a market-leading, multichannel proposition in sports fashion retail and we are confident that we will emerge from the current challenges in a strong position to resume our previous positive momentum.”

Rival retailer Sports Direct shut its own stores on Tuesday in a U-turn after telling staff it planned to keep sites open, saying its position selling sporting and fitness equipment made it a vital asset during a national shutdown.

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