JD Sports is set to open a new menswear fascia named Open, which it intends will reach “double digit” store numbers by the end of the year.
JD said it had built an “experienced team” which includes Karen Millen joint managing director Steve Price, who left he womenswear retailer last week, and former Blue Inc buying and design director Stephen Galea to lead the retailer, which is set to open in the second half of 2014.
“The concept will be all about good value fashion basics for every day,” JD said.
The sportswear retailer said that the new chain would “not in any way” resemble the previous Open format which it operated in Liverpool and Glasgow ten years ago.
The launch comes as sales have dipped at JD’s fashion fascias, which include Bank and Scotts. Fashion like-for-likes dipped 2.2% in its first half to August 3.
The retailer hired former Asos and Arcadia executive Gwynn Milligan as managing director of Bank Fashion in July to strengthen its proposition.
One industry source said he was unsurprised JD had moved into own brand where margins are stronger. “It will be finding its branded fashion fascias quite tough. However, their customer is a branded fashion customer. It will not be straightforward,” he warned.
Open’s launch comes as JD Sports aims to diversify its group further by building a national chain of low-cost gyms.
JD has acquired is first site in Hull which will open next month and has hired former JJB Fitness Club national operations manager Alun Peacock to lead the charge.