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JD Sports on the hunt for more acquisitions

JD Sports Fashion is eyeing further acquisitions to fuel expansion despite its Blacks purchase hitting full-year profits.

JD chief executive Barry Bown said the retailer was “not going to quell” its acquisitive nature.

He said: “Retailers tend to come to us. We’re opportunistic and will continue to take advantage of what comes up.”

Bown said an area of focus for JD would be its burgeoning international operations. The retailer aims to open 50 stores across major cities in Spain as well as a further 50 in France.

JD chairman Peter Cowgill said: “International development will be a key foundation for our future.”

The retailer has used its acquisitions of Spanish sportswear business Sprinter and French chain Chausport as a springboard to launch JD in the countries. Bown said acquisitions may be made elsewhere if “synergies were right” between would-be targets and JD.

The retailer’s full-year pre-tax profit for the year ending January 28 dropped 14.2% to £67.4m. Bown put that down to the acquisition of Blacks, which made a £2.2m loss over the period. JD acquired the business for £20m in January.

JD, which has already closed more than 80 Blacks stores, is in talks with landlords to “rebase” its rent. Bown does not expect the specialist outdoor business to be back in the black for another 12 to 18 months.

JD also invested in a new distribution centre over the period.

In the nine weeks to March 31 like-for-likes across JD’s UK and Ireland fascias edged up 1.2%, but margins remained under pressure as consumers continued to be offer driven.

Bown said JD is focusing on differentiation to move away from the prevalent discounting culture and would continue to offer unique and exclusive product. The retailer has acquired brands such as Fenchurch and signed exclusive licenses for Fila and Diadora in the past year.

Bown said JD Sports’ stable of own brands accounts for 16% of total sales at present.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Bigger isn't necessarily better, and J.D have to be careful that they don't end up like a bad Monopoly player , i.e they buy everything, but end up with nothing.

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  • JD have also rumoured to have bought another dying brand, Henleys. Announcement to come shortly.

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