'Simply The Best'

Long established as the leading UK specialist of fashionable branded and own brand sports and casual wear, the JD Group has grown principally through its main retail fascia, JD Sports. Here, RLI sits down with Nigel Keen, Group Property Director of JD Sports Fashion to talk about how the brand has found success and what the future holds. Established in 1981 with a single store in the North West of England, JD Sports Fashion Plc is a leading multi-channel retailer of sports fashion and outdoor brands in the UK and Europe. The first London store was opened in 1989, and by the time the company began floating on the stock market there was 56 stores in operation. Today the group as a whole, including its partners in countries such as Spain, France and Australia operates more than 1,300 stores. The first JD store outside of Europe opened in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in January 2016 and now the JD Sports brand alone operates more than 600 stores across the UK and internationally. In the last 12 months growth has been exceptional across Europe, and as the company has continued to grow its international presence it is becoming recognised as a true international retailer. Due to landlords gaining a better understanding of the brand and what it is about, they are actually beginning to approach the group, rather than the other way around. “In recent years the biggest change has been in online retail and how we have embraced the whole omni-channel approach,” explains Nigel Keen, Group Property Director of JD Sports Fashion. “We’ve tried to join the whole journey up with this mentality of shopping anytime, anyplace and anywhere that the consumer wants now.” While the company has opened around 100 stores in the last 12 months, in particular two important flagships were opened in the UK, one in Manchester and another in Liverpool. In Manchester, an 18,000sq ft space was opened, whilst in Liverpool a 19,000sq ft store was opened over two levels. Internationally, the company has recently opened a 6,500sq ft space in Miranda in Australia as its international presence continues to grow.


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