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JD Sports says mall footfall still weak, cancels final dividend

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Retailer JD Sports cancelled its final dividend payment for shareholders on Tuesday and warned that customer traffic was still weak in malls across Europe as shoppers worried about visiting densely occupied enclosed spaces.

[BENGALURU] Retailer JD Sports cancelled its final dividend payment for shareholders on Tuesday and warned that customer traffic was still weak in malls across Europe as shoppers worried about visiting densely occupied enclosed spaces.

The company, Britain's biggest sportswear chain, reported a 24 per cent jump in headline profit before tax and exceptional items to £438.8 million (S$763.1 million) for the year ended Feb 1, before the lockdown hammered its customer numbers.

It warned, however, that it would take a "material" hit from the coronavirus crisis this year.

"Looking longer term, there is inevitably considerable uncertainty as to what the effect of Covid-19 will be on consumer behaviour and footfall with future store investments highly dependent on rental realism and lease flexibility," chairman Peter Cowgill said.

The owner of Footpatrol and Cloggs brands also said it was in negotiations with Britain's competition watchdog after appealing the body's order rejecting its buyout of another chain, Footasylum.

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REUTERS

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