JD Sports Fashion chief executive Barry Bown has laid out plans to up the retailer’s fashion offer as he pleased the City with a solid set of full-year results.
Bown plans to expand the Bank fascia from 54 to 150 stores in the next five years and will launch transactional Bank and Scotts websites this summer.
In the first nine weeks of the new year to April 4, JD’s group sales rose 0.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which compared with the Easter period last year.
JD will increase its store and marketing activity with Adidas – rolling out more shop-in-shops with the Adidas Originals brand and hosting Adidas house parties in stores in the theme of the brand’s recent ad campaign.
The retailer has also signed an agreement to sponsor emerging hip hop band N-Dubz to further its market reach and appeal.
Bown said that although he expects sourcing – particularly of own-brand products – to become more expensive as a result of the weak pound he will not increase prices. “I don’t think that the market will accept prices going up. Margin is going to come under pressure. We have to accept that,” he said.
Numis analyst Nick Coulter said: “As a full-price sports fashion retailer posting positive like-for-likes and holding gross margin, atop a strong balance sheet, the market continues to ignore the
merits of JD.”
Investec analyst Katharine Wynne said “Whilst gross margins were broadly flat in sports last year, the outlook for this year is less certain given the varying impact of competitor distress, capacity exit and a forex drag.”
JD insisted that it has focused on its own business and not been distracted by the wider turbulence in the sportswear market, including JJB’s struggles and the re-emergence of former JJB owner Dave Whelan with his DW Sports Fitness chain.
“If you keep your pencil as sharp as possible, whoever is in the market, it won’t have an effect,” Bown said.