JD Sports confirms Aussie opening

JD SPORTSBritish sports fashion retailer, JD Sports, has confirmed it will open doors this April at GPT’s Melbourne Central.

As revealed by Inside Retail last week, the UK-based retailer will now extend its presence across 11 countries.

The 540sqm store will offer a range of leading global brands including Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, Reebok, Ellesse, The North Face and Puma, servicing men, women and children through a wide range of footwear and apparel.

JD said it will bring a cross category product offering, from performance to lifestyle, presented in a highly immersive, multi-channel, retail environment, “which has never been seen before on the Australian high street”.

Dubbed the ‘Undisputed King of Trainers’ back in the UK, Hilton Seskin, head of JD Australia, said that the launch would not disappoint. “Our shoppers will get first pick of limited edition styles, global launches and JD exclusives from the heavy-hitters including Adidas and Nike.”

“Being a global retailer gives us access to the best product, higher tiered releases, more exclusives and the ability to build ranges that are specific to the JD consumer, making JD the place to go for sport fashion.”

In August 2016, JD Sports acquired majority control of Next Athleisure which currently has 32 stores trading as Glue Store, as well as Trend Imports, a wholesale distribution business. JD Sports said it’s aiming to expand throughout Australia in 2017, with store launches planned in VIC, as well as NSW and QLD.

An integral part of this strategy also includes a dedicated localised e-commerce offering which will launch in conjunction with the first store in Melbourne Central.

“It is a very proud moment in JD’s history to be opening our first store in Australia,” said Peter Cowgill, executive chairman. “We hope that the people of Melbourne will be as excited as we are by our extensive range of product and our ability to provide the best sneakers, in the best environment, from all the major brands.”

With nearly identical brand colours and on the surface, similar value propositions, JD’s entry stands to have the most impact on Rebel Sport, which along with Amart Sports, gives Super Retail Group 30.4 per cent marketshare according to Ibisworld research. Though, it seems at this early stage, SRG isn’t too flummoxed about JD’s impending market entry, suggesting that more consumer choice is a good thing for the market when JD’s entry was announced last year.

“We see plenty of potential for continued growth in sports retailing in Australia, an SRG spokesperson told IR at the time.

“At a macro level, revenues are expected to continue to benefit from a greater focus on healthier, more active lifestyles, and the continued strong performance from our Rebel and Amart Sports business is reflective of that.”

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