Global stock markets remain hugely volatile as concerns over rocketing inflation grow. But as someone who invests for the long term, I’m not panicking.
I plan to continue buying UK shares I think will deliver outstanding shareholder returns in the years ahead. With this in mind here is what I consider to be one of the best FTSE 100 stocks to buy following recent share price weakness.
The sportswear revolution
The rise of ‘athleisure’ has been one of the fashion revolutions of the past decade. The widespread switch to sports casual clothing has been fuelled in large part by the global interest in staying fit and healthy, as well as comfortable. Covid-19 lockdowns more recently have given the segment extra fuel too as people dropped formal officewear for sweatpants, hoodies and the like.
People might be returning to the workplace but athleisure is tipped to continue growing strongly. Viewing changes to the way inflation will be calculated going forward will give us an idea of shifting consumer tastes. Today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said men’s suits are to be removed from the basket of 700-odd items that is used to calculate prices rises.
The shake-up will see sports bras enter the basked for the first time too. And crop tops will be added as well. Changes to the measurement illustrate how demand for formalwear is sinking as flexible working practices grow. They also show how demand for fitness clothing continues to pick up as the exercise boom continues.
A bargain FTSE 100 stock
Monday’s news is clearly a good omen for JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD). The retailer is a giant in the athleisure segment and has a robust record of annual profits growth. That’s barring a 6% bottom-line reversal in the financial year to January 2021 when Covid-19 caused its stores to close and pushed up costs.
City analysts expect JD Sports to immediately return to delivering sustained profits growth following this hiccup. An 81% earnings surge is anticipated for the year just ended January 2022. And modest rises of 2% and 7% are forecast for this year and next respectively.
It seems to me that these forecasts make JD Sports a brilliant bargain stock today. Following recent share price falls the FTSE 100 retailer now trades on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 12 times. This is well below its pre-pandemic multiple above 20 times.
Why I’d buy JD Sports
The JD Sports share price has fallen more than a third since the start of 2022. It’s a descent that reflects the threat that soaring inflation across its global territories poses to profits. In its core UK and Ireland market, for example, consumer confidence just slumped to 13-month lows, according to GfK.
There are certain advantages JD has in its locker however, that may help it to weather the storm. Thanks to its reputation as the go-to place for popular casual fashion, JD has built a large and loyal customer base. It should also benefit from the star power of heavyweight brands including Nike and Adidas, the labels that remain in high demand even when times get tough.
I’d buy JD Sports as I think its ongoing global store expansion programme could deliver outstanding long-term returns. While I think its popular online channel will produce huge rewards in the e-commerce age.