Now JD Sports is leaving Ashley in the shade: the chain beats high street gloom with record results
JD Sports defied the gloom of the High Street to achieve record profits because it extended its lead over rival Sports Direct.
The shares in the chain have risen to a record high after having booked a profit increase of 15.4% to £ 399.9 million in the year until February 2.
Turnover in the same store increased by 6 percent because thick Fila shoes and Vans Old Skool trainers came off the shelves.
Retail rivals: Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, left and JD Sports chief exec Peter Cowgill, right
The bumper results come as a blow to Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, who predicted in 2011 that he could & # 39; finish off & # 39 ;.
Peter Cowgill, the chief executive of JD Sports, said: & I don't think his prediction was entirely correct.
& # 39; Let's hope he's better at gambling. & # 39;
Ashley, 54, has lost hundreds of millions of euros to a series of poorly rated retail bets.
They include one at Debenhams who collapsed into the government last week and destroyed his share of nearly 30 percent.
JD Sports was also captivated by the American brand Finish Line for £ 396 million and Liam Gallagher & # 39; s menswear chain Pretty Green.
The Finish Line deal earned Ashley a £ 37 million payout after being forced to sell his 9.85% stake. JD Sports is currently preparing £ 90 million for its smaller rival Footasylum.
JD Sports is now worth £ 5.6 billion, an amount that is more than three times the value of Sports Direct, which is worth £ 1.6 billion.
Cowgill added: & # 39; Mike is a smart guy and he has gone one route in terms of his High Street development and we have taken another route.
We have largely stuck to our knitting and it has expanded further. The way it looks now, I can only think about the results. I would never hit Mike Ashley in that regard. & # 39;
The dazzling success of JD Sports is in stark contrast to many traditional retailers struggling to retain customers as more customers go online.
Debenhams crashed into the administration last week, while retailers such as Topshop owner Arcadia, Marks & Spencer and New Look have closed stores.
Cowgill explained that JD Sports has focused its attention on attracting and retaining younger customers, with the majority of its customers being between 16 and 24 years old.
"We have recognized the increasing relevance of millennials and generation Z and we have worked tirelessly to deliver consumer experience in both bricks and mortar and online," he said.
Retail shares rose 8.4 percent (44.6 p) to 576.6 p last night when investors celebrated the retailer's success.
Analysts at Peel Hunt said: & # 39; s it's hard to see such impressive results anywhere else in retail, and JD & # 39; s sales growth and profit delivery are great despite the negative background and the tough weather outside .
& # 39; The shares have become more powerful and we see no reason why this will not continue because the strength of the JD brand, management and general forward momentum show no signs of decline. & # 39;