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Peter Williams: JJB Sports must redefine its positioning

JJB Sports will fight to create a clear focus and positioning for the business in 2009, according to newly appointed strategic development director Peter Williams.

Williams told Drapers that JJB Sports would need to differentiate itself and create a more focused offer, to trade through the economic downturn.

Williams said: “The ones who will get through it are those that have a clear focus and presentation so that the customer understands what the retailer all about, otherwise you will struggle.”

“The world has moved on and JJB Sports has tended to have a position which is somewhere between JD and Sports Direct. But JJB Sports is a business that has a real place but its current proposition may not be where it ends up.”

He added: “I’ve been through a couple of downturns before and this is worse than either of those. It’s not just in the sportswear sector. The consumer is becoming more promiscuous.”

Former Selfridges chief executive Williams was appointed into the role at the beginning of the year, as deputy chairman Sir David Jones became chairman. Williams will report directly to Jones and will be responsible for development across the group’s sports and lifestyle fascias, which include Original Shoe Co. and Qube. Chief executive Chris Ronnie will continue to run the business on a day to day basis.

The business was in talk to sell its lifestyle division but a deal has failed to materialise. The business closed a raft of its Qube stores just before Christmas, fuelling speculation JJB might close its lifestyle business completely.

JJB Sports will give a trading update on Jan 15.

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