JD Sports Fashion Plc has long been established as the leading UK specialist multiple retailer of fashionable branded and own brand sports and casual wear, principally through the growth of its main retail fascia, JD Sports.
The JD Group now has well over 900 stores covering both sports and branded fashion but it all started when John David Sports was founded in 1981 with one shop in Bury. By 1983 the fledgling business was expanding into the Arndale Centre in Manchester and throughout the 1980s there were further openings, largely in the North and Midlands. The first London store was opened in Oxford Street in 1989 and by the time of JD’s stock market flotation in 1996 there were 56 stores. Maximum advantage was being taken from the growth in sales of international sports brands such as adidas, Nike, Reebok and Puma and the trend to wear sportswear more and more in everyday life rather than largely on sports fields. Additionally, JD had already developed its reputation as the most innovative visual merchandiser of sportswear with the best and most exclusive and stylish ranges.
The business continued to grow organically until 2002 when it acquired nearly 200 further stores with the acquisition of First Sport. Nearly all of the stores retained from this acquired portfolio have subsequently been converted to the JD fascia. In 2005, JD also purchased over 70 stores from Allsports, thereby further consolidating its position as the leading UK retailer of fashionable sports and casual wear. JD operates in both the UK and Republic of Ireland and, through Chausport, in France.
The JD Group also has a significant branded young fashion offering following the acquisition of Scotts in December 2004 and Bank Fashion in December 2007. These fascias have a combined portfolio of more than 100 stores across the UK and are well known for their dynamic approach to the branded fashion market with a new mix of brands introduced each season. Both of these fascias trade online at www.bankfashion.co.uk and www.scottsonline.co.uk.
2009 saw further expansion of the JD Group through the acquisition of Chausport which operates from 75 small stores in France.
In addition in 2009, JD acquired the world famous rugby heritage brands 'Canterbury' and 'Canterbury of New Zealand' as well as 'Kooga Rugby' brands.
JD has a controlling interest in www.getthelabel.com. This site is aimed at providing families with their branded fashion needs at attractive prices.
2001 saw further European expansion of the JD Group through the acquisition of Champion Sports which has 23 stores in Ireland and a 50.1% share of Sprinter which has 47 stores in Spain.
Also in 2011 another rugby brand, ‘Kukri’ was added to the Group and the 8 stores trading as Cecil Gee were acquired from Moss Bros.
In 2012 the JD Group acquired the trade and assets of Blacks Leisure Group Plc when it went into administration trading from 290 stores under the Blacks and Millets fascias.
JD Sports Fashion plc has been 57% owned by Pentland Group plc since mid 2005, a group whose principal interests are in sports and fashion brands, such as Lacoste and Speedo.