JD Sports: everything you need to know about the retail giant


JD Sports is a nationwide retail giant with a history stretching back 40 years.

The group headquartered in Bury employs around 54,000 people and its shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange.

In addition to stores across the UK, it also has locations in the US, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

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In its latest annual accounts, the group reported revenue of £ 6.1bn and profit before tax of £ 421.3m.

But what do you know about one of the largest companies headquartered in the Northwest?

Below BusinessLive tells you everything you need to know:

The early years

The company opened its first store in Bury, Greater Manchester, in 1981.

Named JD Sports, the letters represent the initials of the company’s founders, John Wardle and David. Makin.

In 1983, the company opened a store in the Arndale Center in Manchester, followed by another in Oxford Street, London, in 1989.

The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1996 as JD Sports Fashion plc.

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In December 2001, it acquired 209 additional stores with the acquisition of First Sport from Blacks Leisure Group.

In October 2005, it bought 70 stores from the directors of Allsports, who took office a month earlier.

Later in the year, a majority stake of 57.5% was acquired by Pentland Group, the sportswear giant behind brands such as Speedo and Canderbury.

The move saw the founders leave the board after selling their shares for £ 44.6million.

On the track of acquisitions

Four years later, JD Sports acquires Chausport, a French sports retailer. The deal was the group’s first international presence and entry into Europe.

This led him to open his first JD in Lille, France, his first store in Europe, in 2010.

In 2011, the group acquired Sprinter, a Spanish sports retailer specializing in footwear, clothing and equipment, before expanding into the outdoor market with Blacks and Millets who joined the group in 2012 for 20 million pounds sterling excluding administration.

At this point, JD Sports had already acquired Champion Sports for € 19.6 million and acquired streetwear clothing brand FLY53 for an undisclosed amount.

That same year, JD Sports bought a 40% stake in fashion retailer Tessuti, before fully acquiring the brand in 2016.

In February 2013, he bought Cloggs, a non-government shoe retailer, but closed it in 2018.

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In September 2016, it acquired the Clothingsites.co.uk group and bought Go Outdoors for £ 112million in November of the same year.

He then acquired an 80% stake in Australian retailer Next Athleisure for A $ 6.6 million.

The following year, JD Sports acquired Hot-T, a South Korean branded athletic shoe retailer, and in March 2018, it struck a deal to acquire Finish Line for $ 558 million.

JD Sports is headquartered in Greater Manchester
JD Sports is headquartered in Greater Manchester

In 2020, it acquired Shoe Palace, a branded footwear and sportswear retailer based on the West Coast of the United States for $ 325 million.

In 2021, the group acquired DTLR, a sports shoes and streetwear clothing retailer based in Maryland, United States.

In the same year, she announced a deal to acquire 60% of the £ 200million European retail giant Marketing Investment Group SA

The brands of the group

The group’s brands currently include:

  • JD
  • Cut?
  • Patroller
  • Finishing line
  • Palace Shop
  • Villa DTLR
  • Livestock
  • Sprinter
  • Sports area
  • Pear
  • Chausport
  • calibrator
  • JD Gyms
  • Tessuti
  • Scotts
  • Main line


The Board of Directors is chaired by Peter Cowgill, who is the Executive Chairman.

He has been in office since March 2004 and was previously Group Chief Financial Officer until his resignation in June 2001.

He is also currently non-executive chairman of United Carpets, Quiz and Roxor Group.

Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman and CEO of JD Sports
Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman and CEO of JD Sports

The group’s chief financial officer is Neil Greenhalgh who joined the group in June 2004 and took up his current role in November 2018.

He previously held several management positions within the Woolworths Group.

The group’s four non-executive directors are Heather Jackson, Kath Smith, Andy Long and Bert Hoyt.


JD Sports has been trying to finalize its acquisition of Footaslym for £ 90million since the deal was announced in early 2019.

The process took another heavy blow recently when the French Competition and Markets Authority said the deal could “lead to a worse deal for buyers.”

The concerns were made public after the CMA blocked the deal in 2020 but was forced to reassess its decision following an appeal from the sportswear giant.

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The CMA said it believed a merger between retailers could see customers face “higher prices, fewer discounts and fewer product choices in-store” due to reduced competition.

He added that there were concerns that the move would also lead the group “to invest less in improving customer service”.

However, JD Sports responded that approval of the takeover would allow it to invest in Footasylum and “work with its management team to increase the quality, range and choice of products available to its consumers, which will bring more significant benefits to a UK shopping street decimated by a number of high-profile closures “.

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