British sports fashion retailer JD Sports has issued a vote of confidence in its fledgling Australian operation, revealing that it is expanding its local logistics capabilities to facilitate “anticipated future growth”.
Delivering its financial results for the 53 weeks ended 3 February in the UK on Tuesday, JD’s executive chairman Peter Cowgill said work to bolster its fulfilment in Australia was ongoing and that initial trading from its first five stores Down Under was “encouraging”.
“Our initial performance in these markets [including Malaysia] is encouraging and it has given us the confidence to investigate options in other territories,” Cowgill said.
“A smaller scale project to expand our logistics capabilities in Australia to facilitate anticipated further growth, both in stores and online, of the JD fascia is also ongoing,” he said.
The comments come just a week after JD’s local arm, which is being shepherded by Rebel founder Hilton Seskin, announced three new stores (bringing its total to 9), one of which is already open in Macquarie, Sydney.
JD has worked with the local veteran on slowly laying the bedrock for its Australian expansion over the last few years, launching about a year ago.
As of 3 February JD had 12 stores in Asia Pacific and 52 stores across other businesses in the region, such as Glue in Australia.
The listed British business does not separate its sales figures from individual markets outside of the UK, but revenue from operations outside of its home market and Europe increased by 46.6 per cent to £31.5 million (AUD$58.01m) during the year.
Group-wide JD reported a record increase in its before tax profit for the year, up 24 per cent to £294.5 million (AUD$524.32m).
Group revenue was up by 33 per cent to £3.16 billion (AUD$5.82bn) on the back of 187 store openings, including a net increase of 70 stores in the UK and Europe alone. The business has 1237 locations globally.
Cowgill said he had been “very encouraged” by the result, which brings total profit growth since 2015 to more than 200 per cent.
“The investments we have made over a number of years in developing our multichannel proposition and driving improved buying, merchandising and retail discipline have ultimately led to the creation of a world class sports fashion business which combines the best of physical and digital retail on an increasingly global scale,” he said.
We are very encouraged by the progress that we are making internationally, and we continue to look for further opportunities to bring our dynamic multichannel proposition to new markets around the world with the support of our key brands”
JD is currently finalising a yet-to-be-approved deal to purchase American footwear chain The Finish Line for $558 million, a move that will supercharge its expansion into the US.
JD provided no specific outlook, but said it is satisfied with its progress and remains confident about the prospects for the current financial year.
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