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JD Sports store The "athleisure" trend led to an 81% increase in pre-tax profits last year to 238.4m. Even the previously loss-making outdoor brands, Millets and Blacks, have made money for the first time since JD Sports acquired them. But the company warned of possible inflationary pressures later this year. Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, said "JD's continued strength in its core markets is increasingly being complemented by momentum in our international development, with a net increase of 54 JD stores across mainland Europe during the year." Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new stores opening, grew 10% over the year. The company has 900 outlets in the UK. The group opened 54 stores across Europe last year and opened a further two stores in Malaysia. The first JD store in Australia is due to open shortly. "Whilst we must recognise that there are external influences which may impact the latter part of the year, notably inflationary pressures arising from Brexit, the board remains confident in the robustness of the JD proposition and believes that the group is well positioned for further profitable growth," said Mr Cowgill. Jonathan Pritchard, retail analyst at Peel Hunt, said "Whilst the trainer trend tailwind has been off the Beaufort scale, JD has sailed it skilfully. Both sports fashion and outdoor exceeded expectations." JD's share price rose 4.2% after the bumper results were published. 'Unbalanced view' It has not all been plain sailing for the brand in 2016, however.