JD Sports Fashion has forecast its annual pretax profit will come ahead of market expectations on strong trading in the second half of the year, including the key Christmas period. 

JD Sports, which also runs fashion and outdoor retail outlets such as Scotts and Blacks, forecast £300m in group pretax profit for the year ending February 3.

This is above market estimates in the range of £270-295m, and up from £244.7m it reported last year. 

The company, whose biggest rival is Mike Ashley-owned Sports Direct in Britain, said strong trading continued in the second half of the year and group comparable sales growth remained at about 3%. 

JD, which operates in the UK, Ireland, France and Spain and sells across more than 1,300 stores, expanded into the South Korean market in September with a joint venture deal. 

The retailer said material growth in the online business and overseas expansion boosted sales growth.