Retail

JD Sports Rides Popularity Of Athleisure

JD Sports

With the growing demand for gym wear and strong sales for new locations, British sportswear retailer JD Sports predicted that full-year profit would fall in line with expectations. Shares of the owner of Cloggs and Footpatrol jumped up to 4.4 percent following news that the company was experiencing “encouraging” like-for-like core sports U.K. fashion sales growth and other markets, Reuters reported.

JD has over 2,400 locations that offer brands such as Puma, Nike and Adidas. It has weathered retail gloom with its strong eCommerce presence and global footprint. The report, however, notes that competitor Sports Direct “has struggled” and failed to purchase Debenhams and Findel in recent times.

Stifel Nicolaus Analyst Eleonora Dani said per the report, “It’s likely they are going to pick up market share from other players.” However, the analyst noted that it would be more difficult for the retailer to sustain the growth pace in a trying environment for retail.

Shares in the retailer have skyrocketed 77 percent this year as the firm rides the millennial preference for items in the athleisure space. The firm has targeted consumers who are millennials as well as members of Generation Z who are driving the athleisure trend in which gym clothes have become acceptable in school and at work as well as at social events.

At the same time, the firm has backed international expansion to bring about growth. It opened 29 new locations in the period leading up to June 29, primarily in Europe, Australia and Asia-Pacific. The news comes after it was reported last June that Finish Line completed its merger With JD Sports. With the merger, Finish Line and JD Sports will create a multi-brand, multi-channel, retailer “with expanded global scope,” according to an announcement at the time.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said in the announcement, “We are delighted to announce that we have today completed the acquisition of Finish Line.” Cowgill continued, “This marks a momentous step in JD Sports’ global expansion and represents an exciting opportunity to bring our market leading, multi-brand retail proposition to the world’s largest athleisure market, both online and in stores.”

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