JD Sports Fashion has acquired French sports retailer Chausport, as first revealed by Retail Week.

JD paid €8m (£7m) and took on net debt of €2m (£1.8m) in the deal, which takes it overseas for the first time.

Chausport has 78 stores in “premium locations in town centres and shopping centres”, according to JD, which said Chausport is “particularly well represented” in Northern France.

Chausport’s present management team, led by chief executive and founder Jerome Lepoutre, will stay on at the retailer.

JD said the “strategic acquisition” gives it the “opportunity for future growth by entering a new and sizeable European market outside of its established base in the UK and Ireland”.

JD expects the acquisition to be earnings enhancing in “future years after investment both in the existing portfolio and in new stores”.

For the year ended December 31, 2007, Chausport had a turnover of €40.7m (£35.8m), a profit before tax and exceptional items of €600,000 (£527,186) and gross assets of €17.9m (£15.7m). 

Executive chairman of JD Peter Cowgill said: “We are very pleased to announce the acquisition of Chausport, which will give us a foothold in a new and sizeable European market. By drawing on the current management team’s expertise, we are confident that this acquisition will bring both financial and strategic benefits in the future.”

Last week Retail Week revealed JD Sports was in negotiations with the retailer in an attempt to make a play for the European market.