Peter Cowgill continued the global march of JD Sports Fashion this year. In June, the group bought US retailer Finish Line for $588m (£396m), adding to its fascias, Tessuti, Size?, Footpatrol, Mainline and Scotts.
Finish Line is one of the largest retailers of premium multi-branded athletic footwear, clothing and accessories in the US. It trades from 556 Finish Line-branded stores across 44 US states and in Puerto Rico, as well as online. Cowgill told Drapers he plans to convert Finish Line stores into JD Sports fascias.
Despite a tough UK market, JD Sports has performed strongly: profit before tax and exceptional items was up 26% to £244.8m in the year to 3 February 2018 year on year, while operating profit before exceptional items rose 25% to £308.8m.
Revenue increased 33% to £3.1bn. During the period, JD Sports opened a net 56 stores across Europe, a further nine in the Asia-Pacific region, and its first stores in Australia. Cowgill continues to look for international opportunities on a “case by case” basis.
In October this year, it bought a majority stake in south-east England independent chain Choice. Looking ahead, 2019 may be the strongest year yet for the Bury-based business.