JD Sports is to step up its international expansion with the opening of 10 stores in the Netherlands over the next five months.

JD Sports plans to open its first tranche of Dutch shops in late July, with Utrecht expected to be one of the first locations, after the retailer snapped up the stores of local retailer Setpoint out of administration.

The retailer already has operations in France and Spain and boss Barry Bown said earlier this year it is eyeing further European acquisitions.

The Dutch debut will further intensify JD’s fierce fight in the lucrative European battleground with archrival Sports Direct.

Mike Ashley’s sportswear chain snapped up majority stakes in European sportswear retailers in Austria and the Baltics this week.

Sports Direct fought off competition from French giant Decathlon to snap up a 51% stake in EAG, which operates Sports Eybl & Sports Expert in Austria, for €10.5m, and has the option to buy the remaining shares in the retailer for €15.5m for the next five years.

It has also bought a 60% in Sportland International, which operates stores in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Sports Direct now has a presence in 17 countries and aims to be in all Eurozone countries by 2016