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New brands join line-up as JJB tries to curb losses

JJB Sports is to address crude buying mistakes and add new brands to its mix to help protect its margins as it seeks to stem losses.

The beleaguered sportswear retailer said it planned to add brands and seek more exclusives with key suppliers Nike and Adidas after it made some major mistakes with its buying last year. It also plans to ramp up its own-label offering.

JJB Sports’ pre-tax losses almost tripled to £181.4m in its full year to January 30 because of poor buying decisions compounded by stock availability issues. Total sales edged up from £361.1m to £362.9m but the retailer’s margin decreased by nearly 4% to 34.4%.

However, the retailer said the recent £65m cash injection from its shareholders, approved last month, had enabled it to buy new stock.

JJB chief executive Keith Jones, who cited footwear brand K-Swiss as a successful recent addition to its brand mix, said: “Buying was flat, it wasn’t done well enough. We had 13 derivatives of one Adidas shirt - that doesn’t make sense.”

Jones said the buying issue had been resolved by strengthening the team and retraining current staff.

However, the retailer warned that its turnaround, which will involve a revamp of its stores, will “not be easy or quick” and set a three to five-year deadline.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Adding more brands may be just an aspiration as they may not want to do business with them. Turning around an extremely loss making JJB, essentially a discount sportswear clearance house, will be an extreme challenge in this difficult market.

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