JD Sports Fashion said "significant improvement" at Blacks and Millets had lifted the outdoor brands out of the red following a two-year struggle.

The Bury-based group said the pair achieved a break-even position in the second half of the year to February 1, compared with losses of £4.9 million a year earlier, and that it expected further improvement this year.

Across the group, annual underlying profits were 27% higher at £77 million as continued strong growth for core sports retail brands JD and Size? more than offset bigger losses at its fashion division of Bank and Scotts.

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