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JD revives Open name as it plots new value retailer

JD Sports Fashion is launching a value fashion business later this year and has recruited a new team to spearhead the move.

Sources told Drapers that the group, which owns fashion chains Scotts and Bank, plans to open 15 new stores this year, with each store taking “a new retail identity”. Sources suggested JD was reviving its Open fashion fascia, which was axed in September 2007. However, Open was not previously a value fashion proposition.

A company spokesman said: “JD has built an experienced team to launch a new own-brand fashion concept during the second half of 2014 and it is likely to trade as Open.

“The concept will be all about good value fashion basics for every day. It will not in any way resemble the previous Open concept operated by the group in Liverpool and Glasgow 10 years ago.”

Both were run as department stores selling upmarket designer branded sports fashion. However, Open was scrapped when JD consolidated its fashion division.

The launch team is headed by former Blue Inc buying and design director Stephen Galea as managing director. He left the young fashion chain in September after eight years but had previously spent 12 years at Arcadia, becoming head of buying for menswear at Topman in 2003.

Stewart Messer, formerly head of buying at Blue Inc, has been brought in as head of buying for Open while Oliver Woodhouse, previously head of buying and merchandising at Bench, has joined as head of merchandising.

Design is being headed up by Rachael Stocks Thomas, who was previously a senior men’s designer at JD but has also held roles at Tesco, Boxfresh and River Island.

This will be the second retail launch for JD in the last 12 months, following its sports performance fascia JD Pro, which opened in November.

However, the own-brand concept marks a new direction for the group as it is currently attempting to breathe fresh life into its young fashion chain Bank by introducing several new labels. Drapers reported last week (January 18) that the retailer is hoping to attract 40 new brands, which will be introduced online and in stores over the next 18 months.

Honor Westnedge, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research, said JD’s entrance into the value market could be a tough one.

“For JD to launch a new fascia in that section of the market, its proposition is going to have to be really strong. The product and value for money is going to have to be better than their rivals to lure people away from New Look, H&M and Primark.”

However she highlighted JD’s experience, infrastructure and economies of scale as strong foundations for the new venture.

Like-for-like sales in JD’s core fascia stores - including JD, Size? and Champion - for the 48 weeks to January 4 were slightly ahead of half-year trading, when sales rose 5.8%.

The group expects full-year profits to be in line with City forecasts of about £69m after an increase in like-for-like sales during the crucial Christmas trading period.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Yet another facia, I think they have lost the plot! if it wasn't for the fact that JD is so strong they probably wouldn't be doing this given there current performance in fashion

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  • not sure why everyone doesn't see that JD stores makes all the money and smooth's over the cracks of the rest so not sure why the are launching yet a new facia, some one is obviously bored

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  • JD Sport
    JD Pro
    kind of Trainers
    Get The Label
    and this is just the UK facias - not sure they need OPEN

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  • New management team from Blue Inc! have they looked at a Blue Inc store, one step down from republic and look what happened there

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  • It's to keep their profits down to make it easier to hit City targets over the next few years. Clever people

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  • When Steve is the Managing Director,it is impossible to be unsuccessful..

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