Shares in JD Sports were down on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the retailer reported a rise in profit in the half year ended 31 July.

Total group revenue was reported as being up 18.5 per cent to nearly £384 million. On a like for like basis sales in Britain and Ireland were up 2.8 per cent.

Pre-tax profits increased by 36.5 per cent to £19.4 million, while profit after taxation was up 70.3 per cent to £11.7 million.

JD Sports said it would be raising its dividend by 15.2 per cent to 3.80 pence per share.

Net cash at the end of July was £34.5 million, up significantly from £5.9 million at the same time last year.

During the half year period JD Sports increased its stake in Topgrade Sportswear from 51 per cent to 80 per cent. In addition JD Sports acquired Sonneti and Chilli.

Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman of JD Sports, said, "The trading results for the six months ended 31 July 2010 have again given us a good foundation for improved results for the full year. The improvement has largely been driven by the Sports Fascias but margin improvements in the Fashion Fascias and their recent trading performance lead us to believe that they too will be steadily growing contributors to our results.

"We are up against tough comparatives over the balance of the year and the economic outlook remains uncertain but the good foundation of these first half results and our strong cash position mean both, that we have proposed another significant dividend increase, and we are well positioned for further internal and external investment in our growth.

"The Board again believes that the Group is well positioned and trading is in line with its expectations."

Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented,

"Management initiatives and the football World Cup underwrite these progressive results. The refurbishment of stores has played its part, whilst the group's move overseas has also aided performance.

"On the downside, comparatives are set to become tougher, with Christmas more important than ever, despite a highly challenging outlook for consumers.

"In all, whilst caution remains the watch word for investors in the retail sector, an undemanding valuation, international expansion prospects and the confidence expressed by management via a double digit dividend increase, all provide for a positive market consensus opinion."

By 10:15 shares in JD Sports were down 0.36 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 820.00 pence per share.