* Sees annual headline pretax profit of at least 875 mln stg
* Says U.S. govt's fiscal stimulus contributed to earnings
* Sees next financial year profit in line with current year
Jan 12 (Reuters) - JD Sports Fashion raised its
annual profit forecast for the second time in four months on
Wednesday as shoppers splashed out on sportswear during the
holidays and U.S. consumers spent their stimulus checks on the
Britain's biggest sportswear retailer, which has expanded in
the United States during the pandemic with the purchase of
streetwear retailer DTLR Villa and Shoe Palace, shrugged off
supply chain disruptions and new COVID-19 restrictions.
"JD Sports has scored a Christmas cracker on a shopping
pitch full of obstacles," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst
"With sports and fashion fans showing a willingness to queue
around the block to get their hands on the latest styles, sales
should remain buoyant even as belts are tightened elsewhere."
JD Sports expects headline pretax profit of at least 875
million pounds ($1.2 billion) for the year to Jan. 29, ahead of
current market expectations of 810 million pounds. It had
previously forecast profit of at least 750 million pounds.
Shares in the FTSE 100 company rose as much as 4.8%, before
reversing to trade down 1.7% by 0915 GMT as it also said
earnings for the year ended January 2023 would be in line with
the current year and "revert more to historic norms."
JD Sports, which has been embroiled in a lengthy tussle with
Britain's antitrust watchdog over its purchase of smaller rival
Footasylum, has seen demand rise since lockdowns were eased and
people started visiting its stores again.
Like-for-like revenue for the 22-weeks to Jan. 1 was up 10%,
it said, without giving details on top-selling lines.
It said the U.S. government's fiscal stimulus in the first
half of 2021 might have contributed up to 100 million pounds to
its annual earnings.
($1 = 0.7336 pounds)
(Reporting by Muhammed Husain and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru
Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Mark Potter)