JD Sports is a sportswear and fashion retailer which has been expanding worldwide through an aggressive acquisition strategy, particularly in North America. International expansion upped overseas sales to £3.6bn in the 2020 financial year – matching the £3.6bn originating solely from the UK – but is expected to grow much faster thanks to its recent acquisitions.
Pentland Group, which owns brands such as Speedo and Berghaus, holds a strategic stake in the retailer.
The sports fashion division provides the bulk of revenues as its outdoors business has struggled, particularly the Go Outdoors brand after undergoing significant operational changes which led to a stint in administration in 2020 (see Go Outdoors profile).
Strong supplier relationships with the major sportswear manufacturers provide it with exclusive products and solid margins, underpinning its noteworthy performance. JD is now looking to substantially invest in its supply chain operations to support the increase in online trade and to mitigate additional costs from UK and EU cross-border trade.
Whilst JD has captured Xercise4Less, Livestock, DLTR Villa, Shoe Palace and Sizeer in the last year, completion of the Footasylum acquisition remains elusive. The Competition and Markets Authority had blocked the deal in early 2020, however this was overturned in November and the deal will now be subject to a second CMA investigation.
Innovation rating: 3