Retail star turn JD Sports Fashion's (JD.) powerful run continues, the shares jumping 8.14% to 807.25p on another round of earnings upgrades. An unscheduled half-year update from the sports, fashion and outdoor brands purveyor guides towards a full-year profits beat and entices buyers on Friday.

Hats off to JD Sports, guided by executive chairman Peter Cowgill (pictured below), a clear winner on the high street whose record full-year results in April showed taxable profits passing the £100 million milestone. We outlined our rationale for turning positive on the stock here.

corporate Photos -  Peter Cowgill (1)

In today's brief missive, the Bury-headquartered retailer says full-year headline profit before tax will be around 10% ahead of analysts' £110 million consensus estimate, so long as prevailing positive trends persist, prompting analysts to ratchet up their estimates again. The only negative is news that Euro weakness is impacting margins in JD's European stores; product is bought in sterling and sold in Euros.

Web chart - JD Sports - July 2015

JD Sports Fashion flags a stellar first half, with like-for-like sales tracking ahead of forecasts. Its core JD fascia is clearly differentiated from rival Sports Direct International (SPD) and trading in a booming segment of the retail market. Strong ties fostered with leading sports fashion brands including Adidas (ADS:GR) and Nike (NKE:NYSE) is also allowing JD to benefit from new footwear launches.

Indeed, JD recently opened a new flagship store on Oxford Street, directly opposite that of Sports Direct, in which it has increased retail space allocated to Nike and Adidas. The new store will also be used to woo premium brands, among them outdoor offering North Face, recently added to the range.

Following today's update, Investec Securities ups its price target from 730p to 900p and upgrades its pre-tax profit forecast for the year to January from £109.5 million to £120.1 million, with the broker's 2017 estimate rising from £118 million to £128.7 million. Meanwhile Cantor Fitzgerald Europe upgrades its annual profit forecast from £109 million to £119 million, taking estimated earnings per share up from 42.4p to 46.3p.

Issue Date: 31 Jul 2015